Youth must be genuinely involved as a partner in sustainable development

The youth call for more efficient and clean sources of energy, job opportunities and equality – and genuine participation. 

The youth are important actors, not only in the future but also today. The youth can act as significant partners in implementing sustainable development. When the sustainable development goals are promoted and the results reviewed, the youth must have the chance to express their opinions and actively participate. These goals are realized through partnerships and cooperation.

The youth’s genuine participation in Agenda 2030 requires that youth’s views are taken into account in the implementation. In 2015 UN Youth surveyed the youth’s views about the SDGs. They felt that the most important themes were the environment, secure life and equality.

* The survey revealed that environment-related issues were the biggest concern for the youth. Especially access to clean water and climate change were important concerns on a global scale. Many hoped for development of more efficient and clean sources of energy and thus guaranteeing sustainable development for generations to come. The youth also called for the enterprises’s responsibility to minimize environmental detriments.

* The results of the survey reflected the youth’s strong sense of insecurity. Social exclusion, conflicts and violence were topics that should be addressed. A safe and secure life is a key in fulfilling individual’s basic rights and building stable states. Apart from conflict, high crime rates and corruption also cause insecurity and prevent an individual from living a well-balanced life. Globally the high rate of youth unemployment is not only a social problem but a potential threat to the peace of societies. The UN Youth demand that while Finland emphasize the sustainable development goals and especially SDG 16, Peace and justice and strong institutions, the UN resolution 2250 Youth, peace and security is adopted as central tool.

* Regarding the human rights the Finnish youth was concerned of fulfilling equality. Many are worried because of salary gaps and realization of sexual and religious equality. A genuinely sustainable development can’t be achieved without addressing inequality and the problems caused by it. The UN Youth highlight that there are still social and institutional challenges in Finland when it comes to fulfilling the sexual equality and that the SDG 5 must be a focus on a national level as well. The unsustainable use of natural resources is also linked in inequality because problems and risks caused by destroying the eco system fall upon the poorest population of the world.

The SDGS are shared by everyone but the greatest responsibility falls on the states. This is why the government and the parliament must make sure that the equality of generations is a central value in sustainable development. Agenda 2030 needs us all.

UN Youth of Finland
UN Youth Delegate of Finland 2016