In 2000 Member States of the United Nations (UN) agreed on a Millenium Declaration that defines eights key goals on the road to building a better and fairer world. The year 2015 was set as a target to meet these objectives. As the deadline approaches the discussion on new goals, or on the so-called post-2015 development agenda in ongoing. In addition to member states, the UN has also invited members of the civil society to join the dialogue. The UN Youth of Finland along with its member associations participates by bringing up the views of the Finnish youth.
2014 SURVEY RESULTS (15-29 year-olds)
In the spring 2014 the UN Youth of Finland conducted a survey among Finnish youth between the ages of 15 and 29 to hear their views on the post-2015 development agenda. The web-based survey was distributed via social media and mailing lists and included both multiple choice and open answers. The survey was in part similar to the UN’s official My World 2015 survey but localized to a Finnish audience. The reception to the survey was overwhelmingly positive. In just 6 weeks over a 1 000 young people from all over Finland participated and shared their views, opinions and thoughts on the world they want to live in.
The three key themes that came up in the survey were the environment, reducing inequalities and a safe life. Another element that many answers had in common was the universality of global challenges: common problems require common answers from the international community. In addition to the universality of the future development goals, Finnish youth also emphasized that the future goals should be based on human rights guaranteeing basic necessities, such as access to clear water for all.
In the global My World 2015 survey the most important issues for people around the world have been the ones close to the individual: a good life, better healthcare and an honest and responsible government. These were also mentioned in the UN Youth of Finland’s survey but didn’t make it to the top of the list. This reflects different realities: while some things, such as access to education and healthcare, are given in Finland, they still remain an everyday struggle for many around the world. Similarly stopping climate change, which was by far the most popular multiple-choice option in the UN Youth of Finland’s survey, ended up at the bottom of the priority list in the My World 2015 survey.
According to the survey, ecologically sustainable development is especially important for young people in Finland. For example, over half of the respondents chose stopping climate change as a key future objective. Many wished for a more equal distribution and a more sustainable use of global resources. The relationship between the environment and the economy was also brought up – development should be economically sustainable too.
Many young people expressed a deep concern and a feeling of unfairness related to social, economical and economical inequalities. Reducing the gap between the rich and the poor was the second most popular multiple-choice option in the survey. Also gender equality and minority rights, including sexual rights were often mentioned.
A SAFE LIFE
A safe life free from violence, harassment and discrimination was the third key objective selected by the Finnish youth. This was particularly important for the youngest respondents (ages 15-19). Some also mentioned youth unemployment as a possible threat to leading a safe life. In the view of the Finnish youth, everyone should have the right to a safe life. Eradicating violence was seen as a necessary precondition for a better life for everyone.
MULTIPLES CHOICE AWARDS
Stopping climate change (551)*
Reducing the gap between the rich and the poor (503)
A safe life free from violence, harassment and discrimination (492)
Access to clean water (477)
Equality regardless of gender and sexual orientation (460)
Quality healthcare accessible to everyone (447)
Economy on terms of the environment (434)
Quality education accessible to everyone (417)
Responsible and fair operation of companies (344)
Eradicating violence targeted at women and children (343)
Securing necessary income in all life situations (323)
Everyone’s right to decide on his or her own body (273)
A fair and responsible government (231)
Access to affordable and nourishing food (223)
Possibility to work in accordance with one’s education (193)
No forgotten conflicts: all crises must be intervened (145)
Securing minority rights (119)
Young people’s active participation in decision-making (73)
* Number of respondents. Total number of respondents 1 008.
2015 SURVEY RESULTS (13-20 year-olds)
The UN Youth of Finland decided to run the Post-2015 survey again in Spring 2015. This time the survey was targeted at 13-20 year-olds because the UN Youth hoped to make young pupils and students voice better heard. A total of 1445 responses were received.
In this new survey environmental issues, safe life and equality emerged as key themes for the Post-2015 -development agenda. The respondents considered that these themes affect the everyday life of young people in both developed and developing countries.
The United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda was held from 25th to 27th September 2015 in New York. The decisions laid out in the final document (Agenda 2030) will have a significant impact on the future of young people. The report based on the 2015 survey is an annex of the spring 2014 report. Together they form a nationwide review of young people’s interests and the issues of concern regarding their future. The results of the 2015 survey can be found here:Post-2015 Survey UN Youth of Finland .