Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

September 23, 2022 - 5 Minutes Read - By Grace Marione

The youth are the future but their issues tend to be given a backseat. To bring them to the forefront, young people’s global priorities were outlined in the 2030 Agenda by the UN. Governments must address national objectives by assuming ownership of the Agenda and transforming the framework into quantifiable policies and actions in order to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Young people will be able to reach their full potential as contributing members of society if robust, innovative, and progressive youth policies are used to capture and concretize the Goals.

The African Union Agenda 2063 and the SDGs both require the active participation of young people. In order to engage African youth and fulfill aspirations for a more inclusive future, it is important to better understand their needs, interests, and obstacles both in terms of diversity and potential. To ensure that all young people can achieve their full involvement, empowerment, and development, the UN fully embraces the diversity of young people in all of its manifestations and employs and promotes methods and approaches representative of this diversity. The UN supports and enables openness, accountability, and responsiveness by countries, international organizations, and others toward young people. It also recognizes that young people have rights.

The 2030 Agenda also acknowledges the crucial role that young people of today must play in ensuring its success by asserting that they are essential change agents and will find in the new Goals a platform to utilize their boundless potential for activism toward the construction of a better world. As the 2030 Agenda is implemented, large expenditures will be required to ensure that young people are equipped to act as the crucial change agents the world wants them to be. The United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development Working Group on the 2030 Agenda is where this work is being done on a global scale. youth mobilization and involvement in regional workshops on fact-based youth policies, and encourage the assessment of the Agenda’s youth-related components, emphasizing its significance and relevance to youth policies.

Roles for youth and SDGs

Critical thinkers: Making sense of one’s experiences and exploring the world around oneself are aspects of growing up. Youth have the ability to see and confront current power systems, obstacles to change, and inconsistencies and biases.

Change-makers: Teenagers have the ability to mobilize others and take action. Globally, youth activism is increasing due to improved connectivity and access to social media.

Innovators: Young people frequently have firsthand knowledge of and insights into topics that are not available to adults, in addition to bringing new viewpoints. Youth are able to provide fresh perspectives and unique solutions since they are most familiar with the issues they confront.

Few people are aware that world leaders have reached a historic, comprehensive agreement to enhance people’s lives and the planet by 2030 outside of the international development industry. Young people can collaborate to spread the development agenda among their peers and communities locally as well as internationally.

Leaders: Young people may affect change in their communities and nations when they are empowered with awareness of their rights and leadership abilities. It is important to promote and strengthen youth-led organizations and networks because they help marginalized kids, in particular, develop their civic leadership abilities. ​

Social implications of youth in climate change and adaptation

At least four equally important reasons can be used to justify including the social aspects of climate change. First of all, social dimensions are already acknowledged in current climate agreements, albeit in the most basic sense and frequently underappreciated and underutilized in actual practice. To ensure that human rights are upheld, it is also necessary to include social dimensions in climate policy because these factors have an impact on people’s basic security, life, health, and means of subsistence, particularly the most vulnerable. Thirdly, if social factors are properly incorporated, climate change programmes will likely be more effective. Case studies and insights from the history of human development show that social components must be included if the most resource-intensive and strong cultures are the ones to alter consumption patterns and behaviors. Finally, both in terms of their goals and methods for achieving them, the climate change agenda and the complementing sustainable development and human rights agendas share important synergies. These synergies have a huge potential to increase tangible results by integrating social factors into climate policy. The goal of youth participation in climate change dimensions is to increase and deepen policymakers’ understanding of the advantages of addressing and incorporating the Youth social dimensions of climate change into climate policies. These dimensions include a sustainable, equitable development perspective.

People are not just the recipients of the harmful effects of climate change; they are also its primary drivers and the key players in the process of changing development trajectories. This comprehension – of the primary role of individuals, social factors, and institutions – should fundamentally alter how decision-makers develop and carry out climate change policies. It is especially compelling at this crucial juncture, when many countries are committing to stronger mitigation and adaptation policies and the international community is debating key components of the next paradigm for combating climate change in the face of mounting demands for tangible outcomes. In the simplest terms, people are affected by climate change, and the effectiveness of response strategies depends on people. Therefore, it is essential for good climate policy to consider the social aspects of climate change, the interaction between climate as a phenomenon, its related policy, and society, including the role of individuals as both victims and actors of climate change. 

Effective laws and actions to deal with these same individuals will be crucial to the repercussions and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, therefore changing the social and economic ties that increase their vulnerability will be crucial. As a result, the daily decisions made by strong and capable individuals, families, communities, and nations will determine whether or not climate policies succeed or fail, or at the very least, how much better they are.

Furthermore, climate change policies can achieve more than just a sustainable and resilient economy. Additionally, they offer a chance to improve strategies for truly sustainable economic development and to create a more just and equitable society. These synergies have a huge potential to increase tangible results by integrating social factors into climate policy. They also offer a chance to foster truly sustainable economic development and create a more just and equitable society.

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