On Monday, 24th September 2018 the UN Secretary - General António Guterres launched Youth2030: The United Nations Youth Strategy. This strategy will guide the UN system in stepping up support for the empowerment of young people, while ensuring that the Organization’s work fully benefits from their insights and ideas. The Aim of the Strategy is to scale up global, regional and national actions to meet young people’s needs, realise their rights and tap their possibilities as agents of change.
As a child-focussed overseas aid agency World Vision Ireland welcomes this renewed focus addressing the needs of youth. With approximately 26 percent of the world's population under 15 years old and 1.8 billion between the ages of 15-24 the focus is more relevant now than ever before. Children and young people are often the most voiceless and therefore excluded of, projections show that if current trends continue between now and 2030:
- 10 million additional children will die of preventable causes before their fifth birthday;
- 31 million children will be left stunted due to lack of adequate nutrition;
- 22 million children miss out on pre-primary education;
- 150 million girls will marry before their 18th birthday;
- 670 million people, many of them children, will still be without basic drinking water.
This will be particularly acute in Sub Saharan Africa where over 40% of the population are under the age of 15 and 20% are between the ages of 15 and 24.
The forthcoming World Bank Report “Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018: Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle” indicates that while progress has been made in poverty reduction, child poverty remains an issue highlighting that “more than a fifth of children under the age of 14 live in poverty, and children who grow up in poverty acquire less human capital because of inadequate or low-quality schooling and under-nutrition, making childhood poverty especially pernicious because it perpetuates intergenerational poverty.”
World Vision particularly welcomes the focus on the inclusion of youth voice and recognising their agency. In our programming and advocacy World Vision actively encourages and promotes a focus on children and youth within our work, including space for their active participation in their own development and representation in decision-making spaces. Young people played a central role in the development of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With the launch of the Youth2030 strategy, we now have a plan to ensure children and young people are key in the implementation and achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals
Welcoming the launch of the Strategy, World Vision Ireland Chief Executive, Niall Mcloughlin said “Providing young people living in the world’s hardest places with the tools and opportunities to live a full life and to achieve their potential is at the heart of everything World Vision does. The age profile in Sub-Saharan Africa is a sobering reminder of how big that challenge is. We welcome the launch of Youth 2030 and will support the UN’s Youth Strategy through our own work”.
Progress for Children in the SDG Era. UNICEF, March 2018 https://data.unicef.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Progress_for_Every_Child_V4.pdf