New united call to prioritise youth engagement for SDGs at UNGA75

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Panelists set out the challenges for the SDGs and the vital role youth must play.
Panelists set out the challenges for the SDGs and the vital role youth must play.

FIA Foundation joined a new collective of youth focused organisations to bring a united message to leaders attending the 75thUnited Nations General Assembly (UNGA), demanding leaders listen to, invest in, and engage with youth on the core issues that will directly govern their futures. The collective includes the FIA Foundation, Restless Development, Unite 2030, and The Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety.

The UNITE 2030 SDG Youth Summit brought together representatives from global youth organisations, as well as organisations representing some of the core concerns of youth – including climate change, air quality, education and road safety – to highlight the need to integrate young people into the action needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

A global youth poll by the collective was launched at the event to highlight the biggest issues impacting young people and the solutions, which saw 320 respondents from 135 countries share their views. Polling showed that 72% of respondents strongly agree that decision-makers should invest in the leading issues impacting youth to accelerate action for the SDGs, and 62% strongly agreed that youth should be included in COVID-19 response. It identified that the top concerns for youth were climate change, mental health, unemployment, sustainable mobility, gender equality and access to education.

The Summit debate focused on meaningful youth engagement as a vital element to progress on major issues and achieve the SDGs. Young leaders joined decision-makers to identify and challenge the disconnect on working with and for youth on major issues such as road traffic injury and air quality. The panel was moderated by journalist Nelufar Hedayat, and included: Head of Uplink at the World Economic Forum, John Dutton; India Director for Clean Air Asia, Prarthana Borah; Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility and European Coordinator for Road Safety and Sustainable Mobility, Matthew Baldwin; Restless Development Youth Power Panellist Abideen Olasupo; International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) Liaison Officer for Public Health Issues, Omina El Omrani; and BRAC project coordinator Arshae Ahmed.

The event was closed with a message for young people and leaders alike from Child Health Initiative Global Ambassador Zoleka Mandela, who said: “If we are serious about achieving anything that seriously impacts our young people, we need to make sure that their voices are heard and at the forefront of this agenda. The reality is this. Our leaders continue to fail our young people on very big issues that they continue to face. Issues such as violence, mental health and road traffic injury. We are failing to create safe environments where our children and young people can thrive. We’re campaigning for a Global Adolescent Summit to ask leaders for their commitment and investment. The real leaders here are our youth, so please listen to the youth and act.”

Watch Zoleka Mandela, CHI Global Ambassador lead the call for Adolescent Summit
Watch young people set out the need for youth engagement to achieve the SDGs