In September 2015, the United Nations, through its member states, adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Following this, African countries also pledged to build a more prosperous and developed Africa in the next five decades by remaining committed to implementing the African Union Agenda 2063.
With nearly over 60% of the African population being youthful, the need to involve the youth in the adoption and effective implementation of these two key development frameworks cannot be undermined or overlooked.
Young people and the youth are important and crucial to Africa and the world’s development and harnessing their potential across various communities, regions and demographics is essential to guaranteeing sustainable development.
To enable African youth to drive the implementation of the SDGs, it is important to respond to their needs, provide them with an opportunity to aggregate their voices and to actively contribute to the development agenda on the continent. To achieve this ambitious goal, we must look back into history and correct the mistakes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era, which left out the youth, and amend it in the adoption and implementation of the SDGs for greater world impact.
About the African Youth Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit
To harness the potential of the youth in ensuring sustainable development and growth in Africa, Ghana will be holding the maiden African Youth Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit from Wednesday 1st November to Thursday, 2nd November 2017 at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center, Teshie, Accra.
Under the theme, “Youth as Drivers of Sustainable Development”, the Youth Summit is being hosted by Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG), in collaboration with the National Youth Authority of Ghana with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and several international and local development agencies, the Summit will be focusing on engaging with the youth and young people.
Executive Director of YAG and Convener for the Summit, Emmanuel Ametepey, reiterated the importance of the Youth Summit,
There is the need for governments, development partners, civil society organizations and the private sector to recognize the value of collaborating with young people as partners and establish clear and explicit pathways for their meaningful participation in the process of implementation and monitoring
The SDGs Advisory Unit, Office of the President also emphasized government’s devotion to engaging with youth in implementing the SDGs,
Ghana is excited to be part of the maiden African Youth SDGs Summit. As the unit supporting the global role of the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the Co-Chair of the UN Secretary General's Eminent Group of Advocates on the SDGs, we feel this summit is well fitted within our strategy to mobilize the African constituency especially the youth towards the attainment of the SDGs
As an annual continental forum, the Summit will bring together 350 participants from Ghana, Africa and beyond aimed at building momentum, and rallying support and progressive awareness on the SDGs. It will also bring right holders to become active participants in the implementation of the goals towards improved socio-economic development of their countries and people with focus on unemployment, governance and participation, gender equality, disability and its implication on the SDGs.
Being the first, several young people and officials are hopeful that the summit will set the stage for youth engagement in the development policy formulation and implementation processes towards a sustainable attainment of the SDGs.
Expected Outcome of the Summit:
It is expected that, the Summit will:
- Consolidate the views of young people on the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Draw the attention of donor agencies, African governments, development partners and the private sector to that fact that the youth remained the largest untapped resource and the most powerful drivers of development.
- The summit outcome document will highlight innovations and best practices to inform policy and advocacy at all levels.
- Issue a communiqué to be published in the dailies in Ghana and copies will be shared with High Commissioners and Ambassadors for onward forwarding to their respective governments
- Network with other young people from the regional level to share their experiences on the stage of the SDGs implementation in their countries and reflect on their common threats and opportunities.
The summit will officially be opened by Professor Gyan Baffour, Minister for Planning and Ms. Christine Evans-Klock, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator for Ghana.
Messages from Partners
“As a social justice organization working with vibrant young activists and social movements, ActionAid Ghana is pleased to be associated with the African Youth SDGs Summit. We recognize the enormous creative energy of our youth and the dynamism they bring to community advocacy and national campaigns. It is our expectation that our youth advocacy platforms–Activista and the Young Urban Women Movement–will support the conference and acquire refreshing global perspectives about the SDGs”
Center for Democratic Governance (CDD-Ghana)
"CDD-Ghana is excited to be part of this year's Summit. We hope that, through this summit, the government and other policy makers will be reminded of the value of data in policy making and how the youth can be a critical tool in driving development towards the SDGs"
"Rallying the youth of this nation to own the SDGs, to be involved in its implementation and determine how it shapes the agenda of future is key. Therefore Christian Aid is happy to associate with this Summit as a partner"
“UNICEF advocates and works with partners including the Government of Ghana for the protection of the rights of children, so that every child in Ghana can reach his or her full potential. At this year’s Summit, UNICEF will share its expertise and approaches on how best to promote and deliver sanitation and hygiene in schools and also the sanitation challenges faced in urban areas”.
“Eqwip Hubs’ goal is to propel #100,000 YouthForward by 2020 in 6 countries including Ghana. The SDGs can be achieved if efforts are committed towards it, and more importantly, if these efforts are inclusive of key stakeholders involved including youth. As a youth-focused organization, we stand in partnership with this Summit to echo the concerns of young people to government and institutions of authority. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind.
By: Emmanuel Ametepey
Executive Director, Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG)