One in four people in the world today is aged between 15-29: that is nearly 1.8 billion in total. 2030 Agenda provides unprecedented opportunities to build a solid foundation for a better future for young people and also actively engage them in achieving the SDGs. 

"Youth are the real owners of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi. Indeed, today there are over 1.8 billion people under 30, representing close to a third of the world’s population. This is the largest youth population recorded to date (UNCTAD, 2019). 

The active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is central to achieving inclusive and stable societies by 2030 (UNDESA, 2018). Youth plays a crucial role in sustainable innovation and generating creative solutions (UNCTAD, 2019) for averting the worst threats and challenges to sustainable development, including the impacts of climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender inequality, conflict, and migration (UNDESA, 2018). Youth should have the opportunity to shape global action and change the mindset in order to embrace the values of sustainability and inclusivity.

Despite the positive trends in global economic growth, youth employment has worsened in recent years. There are presently 71 million young people unemployed, and many millions more are in precarious or informal work. (UNDESA, 2018) 156 million youth in low- and middle-income countries are living in poverty even though they are employed (ILO, 2018)

According to the recent UNDESA Report At the level of global policy, finance and measurement are major issues that need to be addressed as part of worldwide youth development efforts. At the national level, policy and programmatic responses to the Sustainable Development Goals have been slow and should be accelerated. Rather than rating the success of programmes on narrow measures of educational or employment attainment, it is crucial that institutional, programme and policy evaluations be more firmly grounded in young people’s own accounts of what they value for their human development and for the sustainable development of their communities and this shared planet.

the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offer increased opportunities to advance youth development objectives in the context of social, economic and environmental sustainable development efforts. When coupled with existing efforts to advance youth policy development and implementation, both through targeted youth policies and the mainstreaming of youth issues, the new development landscape offers innumerable opportunities for young people to thrive. However, for these efforts to be successful, much more is needed in terms of political commitment, financing, measurement, data collection, and targeted interventions in support of youth. In the areas of education and employment, large gaps remain in the input needed to realize the Goals and targets set out in Agenda 2030 and complementary frameworks.

By Katsiaryna Serada



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