The United Nations
The United Nations (UN) was founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, as well as promoting social progress, better living standards, and human rights.
The United Nations missions are:
1. Maintain International Peace and Security
2. Promote Sustainable Development
3. Protect Human Rights
4. Uphold International Law
5. Deliver Humanitarian Aid
The United Nations membership started with 51 countries in 1945 after the World War but had tremendous growth, in 2011 the members countries in the UN are now 193.
Main organs of the UN are:
Economic and Social Council
International Court of Justice
Programmes and Funds
UNCTAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNFPA, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC,
UNRWA, UN Women, WFP
FAO, ICAO, IFAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, ITU, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WHO,
WIPO, WMO, World Bank
UNAIDS, UNISDR, UNOPS
For more details explanation about the UN, visit the UN website, www.un.org
What are the SDGs?
As the period for MDGs ended in 2015, the world and our governments needed to continue with the efforts to fully achieve MDGs and build upon them by tackling new challenges. For the last few years, the UN has been discussing what the global priorities should be for the next 15 years (2016 -2030).
In particular, the Rio+20 conference in June 2012 galvanized a process to agree upon the post-2015 global development framework and develop 17 new Goals, or global priorities, which are called SDGs. On 1 January 2016, SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with
these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
The 17 ambitious goals are
Good Health and Wellbeing
Clean Water and Sanitation
Affordable Clean Energy
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Life Below Water
Life On Land
Peace, Justice and Strong Institution
Partnership for the Goals
The 17 Goals are supported by 169 targets that expand on and define them in clearer terms. Determining whether or not SDGs are achieved is up to the individual, government who sets its own national targets by taking into account the global level of ambition and its own national circumstances.
Visit the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform website (https://
sustainabledevelopment.un.org) and the Sustainable Development Goal indicators website (http://unstats.un.org/sdgs) for the full list of targets and indicators.
YOUTH and SDGs
Whom do we mean by ‘youth,’ and why are they particularly significant stakeholders for the present and the future?
The UN defines youth as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24, the period of transition from childhood to adulthood, in which individuals gain independence and awareness of interdependence as members of a community. In African context, the age range of youth is between 15 and 35 years as stated in the African Union agenda 2063.
Investing in youth is also an investment in our future. Youth can be a positive force for development when the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive are given. Likewise, young people can create a dynamic force of political change and social transformation when they are included in decision-making processes. If we fail to realize the potential of youth, the entire society loses out greatly. The young people of today will mature in the next 15 years right alongside SDGs. They are the people who will experience the success or failure of the 2030 Agenda. This is why it is particularly important to engage with youth and empower them in our endeavour for a more sustainable future.
Demography of Youth
Globally, we are part of the largest generation of youth in human history. Youth account for 16 percent of the world’s population. By 2020, the number of youth is projected to have grown by 7 percent, to nearly. In Nigeria, with over 180 million population about more than 51 million are between the age of 10 to 24 years, 65% of the entire population of Nigeria are youth, same goes for the demography of youth in Africa, reason it is called “a youth continent” but the average leadership age of 75 years old did not reflect this context.
Problems of Youth
Youths are faced with issues of poor access to quality education, unemployment or unpaid, youth live in extreme poverty, teenage pregnancy and major health issues, exploitation and trafficking in the urban cities, no representation in politics and governance. This list is endless, but are the issues captured in the SDGs? In addition, how can youth be a strong significant to solving their own issues. Our aspiration for sustainable development can be understood through five different lenses, or the “5 Ps” – People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace, and Partnership.
Opportunities for Youth in SDGs Advocacy
Youth can provide new energy, creativity, and dynamism to address the myriad of global challenges today. Young leaders have contributed fresh ideas, and many youth start-ups and initiatives today are exhibiting creative entrepreneurial skills in addressing various issues under SDGs. The UN encourages young people to share such ideas to others around the world Fundamental skills provide a solid foundation to young people for further learning throughout their lives. Skills and jobs for youth feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda and are explicitly mentioned in many of the 17 SDGs and their targets, in particular, SDG target 4.4. Investing in human capital development is key to addressing the issues listed above.
UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund
The United Nations empowers youth by helping them actualize their innovative projects that make our world more sustainable. In particular, the UNHabitat Urban Youth Fund empowers global youth by providing grants and capacity building to selected organizations in developing countries. Visit the website at unhabitat.org and see how you can participate!
Competition for Youth
There are numerous opportunities for young people to participate in competitions that aim to raise awareness on sustainable development and youth issues, such as the Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change, International Day of Peace Video Competition, Film4Climate Global Competition, or Fly Your Ideas
Competition. Check out more at www.un.org/youthenvoy! UN Environment Programme, youth division: www.unep.org UN-Habitat-Youth : http://unhabitatyouth.org, World’s Largest Lesson, for educational material on SDGs http://worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org
Roles of Youth
How can we take part in achieving SDGs? Are there any existing forums or events that we can join regarding the implementation of the Goals, and how can we exchange our information?
Youth are not a homogenous group, but a truly diverse group of individuals. For instance, some youth live in rural areas, while others live in big cities. Or important factors such as the level of education and economic conditions prevailing in a country may differ greatly. Certain social groups such as young women, indigenous youth, and youth with disabilities often deal with distinct and multiple forms of discrimination. It is important for each and every youth to actively participate in the implementation of the Goals by offering their own perspective and playing their own part.
UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
In 2013, the first Youth Envoy at the UN was appointed. The Youth Envoy’s role is to promote the positive linkage between the UN and young people. In particular, the Envoy works to increase the UN response to youth’s needs and stand up for the development needs and rights of young people, as well as providing advice to the representative of the Secretary-General on youth-related matters.
UN Youth Delegate Programme
The UN Youth Delegate Programme was established as another form of youth representation and participation at the UN. Young delegates are included in a country’s official delegation to the General Assembly and various functional Commissions of the ECOSOC. The role of a youth representative varies from country to country, but normally includes providing input to their delegation on issues related to youth and participating in their delegation’s general work by attending meetings and informal negotiations. Both within and beyond the UN system, there are multiple avenues for youth to participate in the global discussion for sustainable development. In fact, the UN has been working hard to bring young people right into the heart of global diplomacy through new ways of consultation and representation.
The UN Major Group for Children and Youth
Is the official constituency within sustainable development negotiations and processes at the UN for those under 30. Its work include providing online/offline platforms for dialogue, training young people on the practical skills of participation, and coordinating logistics of youth participation. Once you have joined the Major Group, there are lots of ways to get involved: you may want to be an active contributor to policy making, help facilitate a working group, inspire youth activism in your local community, or just read about what’s been going on!
Opportunities as an SDGsACT Volunteer
Sustainable Development Goals Awareness Campaign Tour is a youth organization passionate about creating awareness on the SDGs, over the last two years we have been able to spread our awareness through various platforms to advocate for the UN SDGs implementation. From Abuja, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Akwa Ibom, Kano our voices heard and recently we are expanding the awareness to Anambra, Kwara and Kaduna. We started our SDGs on Campus with the vision the vison to establish a club in all higher institutions in Nigeria that will help the youth in research and knowledge base development for implementation of the SDGs, presently we have our clubs at Lagos State University and University of Lagos.
We believe so much in effective collaboration towards localization and achieving the SDGs, through this strategy we have collaborated with many organizations, individuals and members of the SDGsACT to work towards implementation of the SDGs.
Our mission is to sign up 1 million youth in Nigeria to support and implement the SDGs by 2030. Will you join us to today to make a difference? To Unlearn, Relearn and Learn new skills to develop yourself and give back to the community.
Facebook: Sdgs Act Lagos
By Sheriff Gbadamosi
Coordinator SDGsACT Lagos/
National Program Officer