The year 2015 was indeed a year a historic year for the world as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was also the year the world realized that achieving the goals would not be possible without the cooperation of the youth. New phenomenons including digitization, climate change, social media, urbanization, extremism and the refugee crisis have led to the development of new issues that solutions of the last decade are unable to solve. The world needs new ideas and innovative approaches to solve these new global issues.
However the world has nothing to fear because the youth are ready to face these challenges in order to create a peaceful future for all as Nelson Mandela said, “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow”.
The youth are playing the following roles, which I would like to call as the 3C framework, in order to achieve the 17 SDGs and make the world a better place:
1.Communicate: A major portion of the population of today are unaware of the pressing global issues. Due to the lack of awareness they are living harmful lifestyles such as littering harmful chemicals in the environment, wasting water and electricity and wasting food. As a result the world continues to be threatened. But the youth are helping to spread the awareness among these uninformed population. Youths are creating campaigns, organizing conferences, writing articles, training others and using social media to change the behavior of people. Example: Happy International Day of the Girl campaign organized on social media by A World at School. As part of this campaign youths from different nations uploaded a picture of himself with a quote to support this cause. This was a successfully campaign as it successfully reached and engaged millions of people worldwide.
2.Create: The young generation is responding to the need of new solutions by constantly innovating. This quite evident by the success of major international platforms such as TED Global, Google Science Fair, Queen’s Young Leaders and Three Dot Dash where we the youth are showcasing our creativity in solving the global issues. Whether it is affordable water purifier for the poor or even an app for refugees, we are improving the lives of people by recognizing that every problem is actually an opportunity in disguise. Example: Sabab Rahman of Bangladesh won the Telenor Youth Forum last year by developing Glassroom- an interactive platform where students of different nations will study together in order to reduce racism and increase pluralism.
3.Collaborate: “If you want to go fast, then go alone. If you want to go far, then go together”. Indeed we need to go far if we want to achieve the SDGs within 2030. The youths are constantly working with different parts of the society including the government, NGOs and Developmental organizations in order to identify issues, develop strategies and implement the solutions. Youths are even collaborating with themselves to establish youth organizations, NGOs and social enterprises which have been developed with the sole purpose of solving a social issue. Working together is allowing other youths as well as other stakeholders to not only learn from each other but also develop solutions world changing solutions which could not have been developed individually. Example: International platforms such as the Zero Hackathon and the ROMUN is an amazing platform to work with diverse youth leaders to solve the food crisis of feeding 9 billion people within the year 2050.
Although it only been a year since the announcement of the SDGs, the youths have already played a significant role in helping their respective nations to achieve the 17 goals. And day by day, more youth are being involved in the race to achieve the goals. At this pace, we, the youth will definitely achieve the goals before 2030.