The Program Officer, Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) Ms. Odediji Jumoke Victoria joined other delegates at the African Youth SDGs Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the theme: “Youth Resilience in COVID-19 era: Pathways to Accelerate Actions to Achieve the SDGs”, held from 9th to 11th of March 2022.
The objective of the summit was to promote multi-stakeholder engagement among the youth and also draw commitments and high-level support from different stakeholders including UN Member States, civil society and the private sector towards active youth participation in the implementation, review and accountability of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union Agenda 2063.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute a shared international framework of development priorities to 2030 which aims to bring an end to extreme poverty, promote prosperity and wellbeing for all, protect the environment, address climate change, and encourage good governance and peace at global scale.
This applies to all countries, including those in Africa. The core essence of the SDGs is to Leave No One Behind (LNOB) and therefore Africa like all other continents must endeavor to Leave No One Behind in the quest for achieving the SDGs and related targets.
According to United Nations, 59 million children in sub-Saharan Africa work instead of going to school. Recently, Nigeria was declared as the poverty capital of the world with the major reason being endemic corruption. Apparently, many of our fellow humans live in abject poverty, polluted environments and fear of loss of life and property.
For these causes, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by United Nations in September 2015 to end extreme poverty, protect the planet and guarantee the security of lives and property by 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, refer to the 17-point agenda of United Nations to recreate a world where the basic needs of the present generations are met without compromising the needs of the future generations. 88% of African countries have fully accepted the SDGs while 76% of countries have launched a formal process of actualizing it. According to the SDGs dashboard, Nigeria ranks 43rd in Africa and 160th in the world in implementing the SDGs.
This ought not to be so seeing as the nation has the largest economy in Africa. However, there is hope for the nation if she can harness her most abundant and powerful resource – youths!
The youth of Africa have a critical stake in ensuring the SDGs are achieved and a vital role to play in contributing towards their achievement. Gifted with innovation, imagination, energy and optimism, they are the key drivers of sustainable development at the local, national and global level.
As the present and future inheritors of this planet, young people have the right as well as responsibilities to spearhead the sustainable development agenda and build synergy for a new system of development founded on knowledge sharing, cooperating and the prioritization of issues such as extreme poverty, climate change, increasing inequality, and a growing complexity of governance. Whilst the SDG 2030 Agenda requires African States to develop and implement policies and programs to meet the challenges confronting Africa’s youth, it is important for the youth to recognize they themselves have an active and integral role to play in their own development.
C21st participated actively at the summit in advocating for the implementation of the SDGs and get involved as an organization to actively strive towards making the world a better place.