These are a set of universal goals which seek to address social, environmental, economic and political challenges facing the world by 2030. By adopting the SDGs, countries have responded to the call to action with the commitment to promote social development, economic growth and to protect the planet. The SDGs were designed to bring to the world several life-changing actions, a step further in bringing social liberation, economic empowerment and environmental protection.
Entitled “Transforming Our World”, the SDGs target a world where all people enjoy peace and prosperity, where the world sees life-changing results including zero poverty, hunger, gender-based violence and a safer planet by 2030. Ultimately, they target a world where no form of discrimination or inequality exists.
To achieve these Global Goals, there is a call on all humans; children, the youth and the elderly to take the necessary actions required of them to enable the realisation of the goals.
It is estimated by the United Nations in 2019 that there are 1.2 billion people between the ages 15 to 24 years. These numbers are expected to grow to 1.3 billion by 2030. Within this period, it is again projected that about 1.9 billion people will turn 15 years old.
In April 2019, UN’s world population estimate stood at 7.7 billion of which one out of every six people worldwide is between 15 to 24 years old.
Based on these figures, the future, especially after 2030 belongs to the young people of today. The youth must therefore take conscious steps and actions in transforming our world by leaving no one behind. It is within the interest of the young people of today to take hold of the wheel and drive the world to the destination envisaged by the SDGs.
The roles of the youth ought to have begun yesterday. Today is already late and any further delay to tomorrow is likely to delay the destiny of future generations. The young people must stand up to take roles in achieving the Global Goals by 2030.
Here are some urgent measures youth must adopt to take centre stage in efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
- To begin, advocacy and activism must take centre stage. It is up to the young people of today to stand to their feet for good cause. It behoves the youth to publicly support policies and actions that are in the interest of the masses and fight against policies that favour a few by proposing policy alternatives. The youth must speak for the voiceless, defend the defenceless and offer alternatives with the mission of making the world a better place. Efforts from all places must be directed to bringing intervention to social, environmental and economic reforms. The ultimate goal of the youth must be to bring changes in society.
- Assumption of leadership positions: To succeed at achieving the SDGs, it is important for the youth to be actively involved in decision-making processes. Youths make a contest at both local and national level elections and vie for other positions at the community level. From this, the youth would have direct stakes in governance. Youth must be encouraged to take up this mantle and use it for the benefit of all including future generations. The youth must demonstrate the willingness and commitment to take up leadership positions to advance the SDGs.
- Also, the innovative use of social media and communication tools to push for the SDGs will go a long way in achieving these goals. Social media has created a community, connecting millions of people from all walks of life and building relationships. . Using social media tools dedicated to achieving the SDGs will reach out to a large community and support from many. Identifying rots in society and exposing them on social media has the tendency of increasing support for the cause. Victims of corrupt systems could speak out using social media. Bringing like-minded people together and selling of ideas to a larger community will take the world a step further to achieving the goals.
- Volunteerism and outreach must be encouraged among and by the youth. Volunteers must be brought together for the right cause of actions. For instance, the youth anywhere in the world could embark on vulnerable support outreach programmes or victim relief outreach or any other actions with the potential of bringing an end to all forms of discrimination and sufferings, and, to bring peace and prosperity to the world. The youth all over the world must give priority to participate in volunteer camps and youth outreach programmes that seek to make the planet a better place for all.
- Build resourceful partnerships: It is worth noting that to succeed in achieving the goals, there is a need for partnership and networking. As it is enshrined in the SDGs by goal number 17 (Partnerships), youth across the world must create positive movements to influence decision making processes and actions toward achieving the Global Goals.
The youth, as agents of change, have a central role to play in efforts geared towards achieving the SDGs. They must therefore mobilise themselves to improve the lives of all people and provide a safer and better planet through conscious actions to advance the SDGs.