Youth making a change

Have you ever thought of what is going to replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2015? Four girl guides and girl scouts representing WAGGGS in the meeting with the High Level Panel on post-2015 agenda recently engaged in discussion about that.

Pippa Gardner and Jessica Carmichael from UK, Michelle Alvarez from the Philippines and Edith Chukwu from Nigeria were part of the delegation of young people who met with the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons appointed by the UN Secretary General and tasked to develop and submit a report on post-2015 development framework. “End poverty in our time” — was the joint vision that panel members agreed on during their meeting in London.

With less than three years to the deadline of MDGs in 2015, the process of developing the successor framework for MDGs is underway, and the High Level Panel meeting in London is one of the numerous, though critically important, milestones on the way.

Twenty-three young people from different parts of the world had a chance to meet face-to-face with HLP of eminent persons, among those, Queen Rania of Jordan, Amina J. Mohammed, Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, Gra?a Machel, international advocate for women’s and children’s rights, Gunilla Carlsson, the current Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden, and bring their priorities and concerns to the table.

This is the first time that a UN High Level Panel has consulted youth on a matter of global importance, which means there is a growing understanding that young people are important stakeholders in the process, and agents and catalysts of change. As Queen Rania said in her opening remarks for the HLP meeting with youth “Youth are able to change realities”.

Twenty-three young people set in groups with the High Level panelists discussed issues as wide as poverty, job creation, education, health with gender equality and human rights underpinning the whole discussion. Michelle presented the project on peer-to-peer education on SRHR in the Philippines as one of the most successful interventions by youth. Pippa uncovered the myth on sex education underlining the importance of comprehensive sexuality education, particularly for girls and young women.

Young people demanded equal role at the decision-making table and have requested for observer status in the HLP; they didn’t shy away from responsibility and wanted to “bear the burden of development” and “be held accountable”.

Innovation and inclusion were the key messages channelled by youth at the meeting and expectations were set in place for a coherent approach to youth engagement in post-2015 and continued dialogue with youth in the HLP meetings, that will follow in Liberia and Indonesia early next year.

One of the delegates reached out to world youth by stating: Do you want to influence the post-2015 agenda and reap the benefits in the years to come? You are 50 per cent of the world population today, but in 15 years you sure will be 100 percent of the whole population.

Make your voice heard!

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