On 25-27 September, the world’s governments will adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. During the past fifteen years, the Millennium Development Goals have strongly contributed to creating a better world. However, even though we have come very far in the process, we are not there yet. The 2030 Agenda offers an opportunity for a better future, in which we have a greater chance to tackle current and upcoming challenges.
Of particular importance to us as young people is the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). SRHR plays a central role in achieving sustainable development, as it cuts across all sectors with links to health and development, gender equality, human rights, poverty, migration, education, sustainable economies, security, climate change, and environmental sustainability. It is a fundamental human right for every person, including young people, to be able to have control over their own sexuality and reproduction. Today, people all over the world are unable to exercise this right as they face stigmatization, discrimination, violence, and other barriers. Youth and adolescents (10 – 25 years old) are a group whose health and lives are particularly affected by these barriers, as there are still many taboos surrounding youth sexuality. We are therefore often left out of target-setting and decision-making. In fulfilling this ambitious agenda, we urge governments to ask yourselves: have I done everything to include the voices of all members of the affected community, especially those from marginalized groups such as young people?
We call upon governments to recognize and emphasize the right of young people to meaningfully participate in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the 2030 Agenda and to acknowledge the SRHR of young people and adolescents worldwide. Politicians and decision-makers must ensure political will to address our needs and commit to making our voices heard on all levels. We call governments to remember that young people must be both beneficiaries and partners in this process. It is only with the meaningful participation of young people that we can successfully achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda.
Young people are the leaders of today, and with the full realization of their rights and their participation in the new development agenda, they will build a better future.
The statement is a joint initiative supported by the following youth organizations:
YSAFE – Youth Sexual Awareness for Europe
Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality
YouAct – European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
ASTRA Youth – Central and Eastern European Network for Youth Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health
Y-PEER – Youth Peer Education Network
GYCA – Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS