‘SDGs can’t be achieved without young people’

Kathmandu, August 12

UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem has said that Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.

A statement released by Kanem on the occasion of the International Youth Day today read, “We want to achieve the SDGs and make good on our pledge to leave no one behind. We want to build lasting peace. Therefore, young people belong at the centre of our collective efforts. Let us embrace young people as active partners on this journey together. None of our ambitious global goals can be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people. They are our future. And—1.8 billion strong—they are our present.”

Yet young people, especially adolescent girls, face formidable challenges staying healthy, getting an education, and making their own decisions in life. Threats to their rights and well-being today jeopardise their potential to become engaged, productive citizens tomorrow, she said.

“We have the power—and responsibility—to help every girl and boy make a safe and healthy transition through adolescence and adulthood. Every space should be a safe space for youth—the home, the classroom, the health centre, the tables where policies and peace agreements are penned,” Kanem stated.

According to her, for UNFPA, the UNsexual and reproductive health agency, working with and for young people, and promoting youth leadership and participation, have been a long-standing tradition. “Our efforts enable young people to develop the skills, knowledge and support they need to make informed decisions about their bodies, lives, families, communities, countries, and our world. Young people are at the forefront of UNFPA’s actions to build more equitable, resilient societies where prosperity is shared by all,” she added.