“The world needs to invest more in youth, We are the one who will drive the world out from the crisis”


The United Nations released the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016 to provide an accounting of where we are on the global goals adopted by world leaders at the UN last year.

The report comes as delegates and ministers from around the world gathered at the UN last month for the first ever High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development since the launch of the SDGs.

I was honoured to participate in the highly esteemed forum, where I was able to reflect the impressive work being done by youth around the globe, steering the global goals agenda as the principal driver and impacting the communities at the local and global level.

There was an event co-organised by the Office of the UN Youth Envoy, UNDP, Major Group on Youth & Children and Kingdom of Netherlands Mission to the United Nations. 

The UN Youth Envoy noted that “we measure what we treasure. We want half of the world’s population to be part of the implementation. What we have is the solution. Youth are the solutions of the SDGs because of their numbers, potentials, engagement in art, industries, business and every other segment of life. Youth are at the forefront. Now we need to define not what should be done but how we are going to do it?”

He was impressed by the work of youth around the globe. He emphasised: “We need to do three things. 1. Young people must come on board as implementer and partners. 2. We have to measure the youth-related targets and indicators. 3. We need to feature more young leaders to celebrate their activism every year.”

Syed, centre of picture, at the UN Youth Assembly in 2015


I shared my views about the millions children who are out of school. We must do more to enroll them in the school. It’s not their future. It’s our future. The solutions must be combined.

According to the latest data, 263 million children and youth were still out of school. Turkey has taken in more Syrian refugee children than any other country – more than 700,000 of them.

But 400,000 of them are still out of school and funds are needed urgently to get them into the education system when the new school year starts in September.

There are 600 million young people in the conflict zones and fragile situations. From Kashmir to Palestine, Syria to Iraq, Ukraine to Egypt – we see the conflicts everywhere.

We are not just victims but we are also driving our communities out from the wars and still lighting the candle of hope and saving it from the storms of violence.

The world needs to invest more in youth. We are the one who will drive the world out from the crisis.

It takes a simple thought-provoking action, challenging the norms and trends to see youth as victims or perpetrators only and joining hands in stopping the waste of potential of billions of youth around the globe.