Youth participation is a right!

Ruby, 22, is a Girl Guide Leader from New Zealand. She is currently in New York, attending the UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), as part of WAGGGS’ delegation…

I am very excited to be representing WAGGGS and Guiding New Zealand at the HLFP.

Over the last year I have been focused on recruiting U-Reporters in New Zealand and developing questions that we can ask through U-Report. I never thought that I would be presenting what we collected at the United Nations and the last week has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.

Ruby and Angeli Ruby, left, with fellow delegate Angeli

Data developments

This week has been full on with many different sessions focusing on data and the use of data to report and assess the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The exciting part for WAGGGS is that by using U-Report, we have a mechanism to collect data through U-Report and we’ve have conducted many polls that are based around the SDGS. The key challenge now and one that I have heard discussed in many sessions is how to best use that data to engage with governments and to create change within the international community using this data.

It is evident from the side events that I have attended Governments need to engage with young people through their Voluntary National Review process. These are conducted at the High-Level Political Forum and there has been varying levels of engagement from dedicated pages in the review document set aside for youth to no consultation. The agenda is set to be achieved by 2030 and they won’t be achieved without the widespread engagement of young people now in the beginning stages of implementation.

One thing that has irritated me over the last week is the amazement of adults that young people have a coordinated and researched stance on the SDGS. Youth Participation is a right and there are young people all over the world working very hard, often in volunteer positions, on projects that address the Sustainable Development Goals.

I want to see more young people get involved and speak out.

Here are few easy things you can do:

  • Educate yourself! Find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals on the UN website, World's Largest Lesson or Global Goals

  • Identify SDGs you are passionate about and ask your local Members of Parliament about them

  • Find a statistic related to the SDG and make something creative e.g. a poster, group photo replicating a statistic, song.

  • Lead a discussion within your unit about a SDG you are passionate about.

  • Find a project in your community that tackles the SDGs and take part in its activities.

  • Share this blog with your friends!
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