Magdy Martínez-Solimán: Statement at the HLPF 2017 Side Event “Youth and the SDGS: From Local Roots to Global Reality”

Jul 19, 2017

Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support addressing the HLPF side event "Youth and the SDGs: From Local Roots to Global Reality" (Photo:UNDP)

Distinguished Delegates,
Youth representatives,

On behalf of UNDP, I would like to thank all co-convenors and previous speakers for an excellent and thought-provoking youth discussion –Minister of Finance, Denmark; Minister of National Development Planning, Indonesia, Minister Dessie of the National Planning Commission of Ethiopia; Jayathma -whom I would like to congratulate on her appointment as the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth; Clara; Max; Peter; Ashley.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Youth leadership does make a difference.
How future General Assembly will be. A lot of fun, a lot of good ideas!

We have heard it, once again: more and more governments identify youth as a priority, and more and more young people are breaking new grounds; promoting poverty eradication, peace and justice; proposing innovative solutions; launching effective grassroots campaigns. Nobody does as well and creatively as you do— campaigns, mobilisation and networking, demanding a role in decision-making at all levels.

Young people’s involvement as SDG accelerators is a good indicator that the Agenda 2030 is real and connects to the aspiration of entire societies. The energy of young people creates broader civic space for youth, greater innovation and new alliances to gains over the lifetime of the Agenda.

My organizastion is working with partners to support youth empowerment at all levels, in more than 150 countries. Last year, we launched our first Youth Global Programme (“Youth-GPS”) for young people by young people— and I don’t manage it, I just fund it. The programme recognizes and supports the positive contribution of youth to development and peace and SDGs.

Our collective challenge is to do better, and better together:

  • Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and national reports need to speak about youth, and need to have been produced in consultation with young people and young leaders. Data on youth, age-disaggregation, youth-focused and youth-sensitive indicators are important steps.
  • Establishing formal youth participation channels, such as the youth mechanism in Sri Lanka, is necessary to reinforce long-term youth ownership of the SDG agenda.
  • Listening and responding to young people is fundamental.
  • Relevant national policies, including youth policies, and programmes and projects, should be allocated sufficient resources. Money talks, about youth priorities.

Please remember what Nelson Mandela said: it always seems impossible, until it is done!

Thank you very much!  


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