A few days ago, I and many other people plugged into the post-2015 development agenda watched the clock and counted down the minutes, waiting for a Synthesis Report from the office of the UN Secretary General (UNSG) to be released. The report, titled “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet”, sets out six essential elements for delivering the next global development agenda – dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice, partnership – and is one of the last signposts on the long road to finalising the Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs). The SDGs and accompanying ‘post-2015 package’ – including how to finance it all, and how to report on progress – will be finalised by the UN General Assembly next September, after almost 5 years in the making.
After a long list of consultations, submissions and negotiations, much of what the next development agenda might look like has already been set out, so why all the fuss about this report, and what difference might it make?
After having a relatively brief look over the report – (a more detailed analysis is to come) – here are ourhighlights and headlines:
1. YOUNG PEOPLE HIGHLIGHTED THROUGHOUT “Young people will be the torch bearers of the next sustainable development agenda through 2030. We must ensure that this transition, while protecting the planet, leaves no one behind.” (paragraph 3)
It’s about more than name-checking any given ‘issue’, but that said, young people profile highly in the UNSG report – and with good reason. As the report itself states: “Today, more than ever, the realities of 1.8 billion youth and adolescents represent a dynamic, informed, and globally connected engine for change. Integrating their needs, rights to choice and their voices in the new agenda, will be a key factor for success.” (para. 71)
Of the 1.8 billion young people aged 10-24 years old, 90% of them live in developing countries. Including young people in the sustainable development goals is not only their right, failing to take young people’s needs and priorities into account just doesn’t make sense (1). With the largest cohort of young people the planet has ever seen, it’s great to see ‘young people’ and ‘youth’ reflected throughout the report, where in other post-2015 documents we regularly see young people cut out completely or implicitly included in references like ‘all people’, and ‘people of all ages’. Reflecting young people’s priorities. Not only does the UNSG’s report highlight the role of young people as key partners and leaders of the SDGs, it also does a fair job of including young people’s priorities. We’ll focus on a couple of key ones here…