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“The role of young people in the next 15 years”
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“The role of young people in the next 15 years”

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Angelique PouponneauWorld leaders have agreed on Sustainable Development Goals, but Angelique Pouponneau, 25, a Correspondent from Victoria in the Seychelles, says meeting those goals will require the awareness and participation of young people. 

With the agreement and confirmation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the Member States, it has to be asked whether these decisions by State leaders concern young people from here on.

I was only ten years old in the year 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were being decided. I was not aware decisions were being made for my future by world leaders about my future. I must confess I never participated in deciding what these goals would be, but I am nonetheless grateful.

It is 2015 and coming up to 15 years later. Now I am 25 years old.  I am grateful for the decisions taken, but I wonder whether I could have done more to help contribute towards the MDGs. Young people have the energy, time and innovative ideas to contribute to achieving national and international goals. It is undeniable that we need the input of young people because it is an agenda that we will automatically inherit; one we should feel a sense of ownership toward. It is only by giving young people this ownership that youths can feel that the SDGs are ours and feel an urge to work toward achieving them.

The exclusion of young people is not a risk that should be taken. Indeed, the exclusion of any stakeholder of any of the SDGs is a risk that should not be taken. The inclusion and engagement of young people and young people from different groups is paramount. This is particularly challenging as young people comprise students still in schools, employed and unemployed youth, and many who are involved in government, private sector and civil society – but they all have a role to play.

So how do we translate an all-inclusive implementation strategy where all sections of the youth population participate actively in bringing about the fulfilment of the 17 SDGs?

Education : Many people are not aware that world leaders have agreed to an ambitious agenda for the next 15 years, which they will not be able to fulfil alone. They need every hand available to accomplish this enormous task. We need all the help we can get, and with 60 per cent of young people in the Commonwealth aged 29 years and under, the more minds and hands we will have to achieve goals and take the world one step closer to achieving this ambitious agenda.

It is only once that young people are aware of the existence of these goals can they begin to think, to discuss, to organise together and alone as to what role they can play to assist their country to achieve success. There is a certain sense of pride when a country can confidently say that it has achieved the goals set. There is a sense of pride to say “I helped achieved these goals”.

However, decisions by governments at national and international level will have to be made in order to achieve these goals, and it is paramount that young people are included in the decision making processes. Besides, it is almost certain that the world leaders who negotiate for their countries today will not be the leaders in 2030, so they should facilitate young people to be part of the process. It is almost certain that they will be there in 2030, and that some youths will possibly be holding office.

So my question to you is: what is your commitment for the next 15 years? How will you help achieve the SDGs?

photo credit: via photopin (license)
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About me: I am a barrister, advocating in all the Tribunals and Courts in the Seychelles. I am interested in sustainable development, the rule of law and international affairs.

I also support inclusive education systems so I volunteer at the School of the Hearing Impaired to teach English and Math. I would like to continue using education and the creation of opportunities for the advancement of young people, ensuring their voices are heard at national and international levels.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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