Young people’s call for action towards the post-2015 agenda

The ECOSOC Youth Forum was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on February 2 and 3 with over 700 global youth participants and Ministers of Youth.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, in collaboration with ECOSOC and many UN entities, launched the #YouthNow Campaign for youth development and involvement towards the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and to commemorate the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY).

WPAY, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year (WPAY+20), “provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people worldwide,” as stated in Columbia Global Policy Initiative’s Overcoming Youth Marginalization report.

#YouthNow aims to raise awareness and inspire actions to further advance youth issues around the world and gives the world’s youth a powerful platform to share ideas on development issues most important to them. The campaign engages a global community in initiatives that inspire people, institutions and governments to celebrate the milestones achieved to date in advancing the global youth agenda and advocate for further actions to be taken.

Today 58 million children and young people are denied the right to education. Therefore, we are calling and demanding the world leaders, governments, civil society and the global community must take decisive action on education now or the largest generation of young people in human history will be exposed to unemployment, poor health and civil unrest.

So let’s remember them by the education we want and by the Youth Resolution that mentioned the following steps as actions:

  • Pass a Security Council resolution that recognises the global education crisis and its link to the rights of children to education and security particularly for girls and in emergency contexts
  • Put EVERY child in school
  • Address the special situations of girls and other marginalised groups
  • Ensure young people learn and are prepared for life and the workforce
  • Increase education funding and ensure accountability
  • Guarantee the voice of young people in shaping education

These steps will immensely improve the quality of the world’s education systems and increase the number of young people who can access the right to learn. These steps will make the world a more just, educated and productive place – one where no child is left behind. We, the young people of the world, call on all governments to deliver.

To raise our voices and make it heard, social media is an important vehicle for connecting youth. So I am calling on every Global Youth Ambassador to take action in the #YouthNow Campaign by the following steps:

  • Change your profile picture on Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness and inspire actions to further advance youth issues around the world. Don’t forget to tag #YouthNow and link to Follow these steps.
  • Take part in the dissection and engagement of the campaign by checking the website and follow @UNYouthEnvoy on Twitter each week to learn more and share your views. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #YouthNow to link to the campaign.
  • Mobilise your community and network to participate in the ongoing campaign to help us elevate global youth voices

Let’s make 2015 a special year or a year “to change the course of history,” as Mr Ban Ki-moon said at the closing session of the ECOSOC Youth Forum. If world leaders do not take urgent action, we will break the Millennium Development Goal promise of universal education by 2015. We will fail children and young people.