Why a youth goal in the post-2015 agenda?

04 September 2014

The Organisation of African Youth and partners recently convened for a High Level Youth Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Development Goals from 19th-21st August 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Organisation of African Youth and partners recently convened from 19th-21st August 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya, for a High Level Youth Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Development Goals,

Messeh Leone, Coordinator for the Commonwealth Youth Council, attended to represent the Commonwealth Secretariat and present a speech on a youth goal in the post-2015 agenda. 

The High Level Youth Policy Dialogue was an African youth event, open to international youth, with the aim of gathering and strengthening political commitment for governments and supporting prioritising investment in youth development in the post-2015 agenda. This is a key issue for Commonwealth countries as 60 percent of the population of the Commonwealth is under 30 years of age.

The policy dialogue allowed young people to lobby their government and to ask them to recognise the post-2015 agenda and target inclusive and sustainable growth devoted to higher standards and to outcomes that improve the quality of young people’s lives. 

The new framework must put young people at the core of the targets and indicators aimed at poverty reduction, enhanced access to clean water and modern energy, quality education, urban development, decent jobs, sexual and reproductive health, healthcare and improved agricultural technologies.

The Commonwealth representative, Messeh Leone, highlighted that 1.8 billion people are aged 10-24 - a quarter of the world's population - and 87% of young people aged 15-24 live in a developing context. 2.6 million young people aged 10-24 die each year, from mostly preventable deaths. 

Young people are crucial stakeholders in the pursuit of successful post-2015 development framework. Youth form a crucial constituency and, in order to overcome disenfranchisement, the new framework should provide a specific framework that sets out and champions the needs of young people. The impact of the decisions governments will make will be felt by the world’s children and youth for years to come, he said. 

Leone also looked at what difference a youth goal would make. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A: Action -  a goal on youth will pave the way for youth to have a stake in the planning and implementation of the post-2015 agenda.
  • B: Balanced Sustainable Development - a youth goal will create the balance between the developed and developing world by engaging and empowering young people who are excluded and lack opportunities.
  • C: Commitment to the most excluded: the Sustainable Development Goals will leave no one behind when the needs and interests of specific groups - the most vulnerable and excluded -  are addressed.  

Download Messeh Leone's speech in full