The Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) provide one of the most exciting opportunities to ensure a better and sustainable world for people and planet, today and into the future.
Young people must be at the heart of the SDGs and take an active part in creating National Action Plans in their countries in partnership with government and civil society organisations. Young people must be involved in monitoring and evaluating achievements and challenges that the SDGs bring and young people must have a role educating, empowering and working with their peers at local, national, European and global levels.
In all of this, we need to remember that young people are not all the same. They are a diverse group of people with their own distinct challenges and life opportunities. We must ensure that no young person is left behind whether they are young girls, young LGBTQI, migrants, refugees, young people with disabilities, young people living in poverty or living with HIV or AIDS, whether they live in peaceful or conflict areas, whether they live in poor or wealthy societies. Programmes and possibilities must be in place through the SDGs to support and empower all young people in all of their diversity.
For the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), we see the SDGs as providing an overarching framework, bringing together what is happening at local, national, European and global levels. The SDGs link in with all of NYCI’s work be it in areas of youth health and well-being, development education and global justice, interculturalism, child protection, arts, research, youth advocacy and youth policy, international, media and communications.
SDG3 focuses on good health. The National Youth Health Programme is a partnership between the National Youth Council of Ireland, the Health Service Executive and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the programme aims to provide a broad-based, flexible health promotion / education support and training service to youth organisations and to all those working with young people in youth settings. This work is achieved through the development of programmes and interventions specifically for and with youth organisations throughout the country and the provision of training and support for workers and volunteers who implement these programmes. The work includes:
(All stats and more available from: http://www.un.org/youthenvoy/health/)
In 2015, a new National Youth Strategy was launched in Ireland adopting a cross-departmental/ministry approach to tackling issues facing young people in Ireland. The aim of the National Youth Strategy ‘is to enable all young people to realise their maximum potential, by respecting their rights and hearing their voices, while protecting and supporting them as they transition from childhood to adulthood’. There are 5 national outcomes associated with the strategy including:
The National Youth Strategy outcomes and commitments should improve the health of young people in Ireland. Working together – Government, civil society, and young people, and linking policies and strategies that are already in place with the new SDGs Framework, Ireland could be a global leader in terms of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. There is a lot of work to do but there is huge enthusiasm to do this work and together, it is possible.