Pretoria, 15 May 2018: The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Pretoria, in partnership with the Tshwane Hub Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, hosted a Sustainable Development Goals Youth Forum at the UNIC library on the 15 May 2018, to enable the youth to have access to information that will equip them with knowledge regarding their role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim was to help young people engage at the grassroots level in communicating the SDGs to a wider society and to raise more awareness of the 17 SDGs.
The forum was a project initiative of Tshwane Shaper Manuel T. Adriano, with the guidance and assistance of UNIC Pretoria. The panel consisted of United Nations SDGs Technical Advisor (South Africa) Msingathi Sipuka, Tshwane Hub Incoming Curator Rivonia Pillay and AIESEC representatives Miguel Luis Oliveira and Jose Carlos.
The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals adopted by member states of the United Nations in September 2015. The SDGs cover a broad range of social, environmental and economic development issues. These include poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.
The forum placed critical emphasis on youth participation in attaining these goals, which in themselves seek to answer a lot of socio-political and economic issues that the youth face on a daily basis. Pertinent questions that arose from the panel discussion had to deal with the incentives for youth to get involved in the pursuit of these goals. This then raised the issue of the localization of these goals from an international and governmental level down to the ground level where young people can take certain actions in pursuit of the SDGs.
Mr. Sipuka encouraged youth in the audience to work towards achieving sustainable development goals by getting involved in civil society groups through which they can push the agenda for sustainable development. He said that youth should be motivated by everyday challenges like unemployment, poor healthcare and the fight for quality education in their pursuit of the SDGs. He also conveyed the importance for youth groups to collaborate so that there is a clear and strong message conveyed by all youth. The event attracted youth from the World Economic Forum – Global Shapers, Volunteer Abroad on a global Volunteer Experience (AIESE), Yali Network, Monash South Africa, Sophie A. Kanza Foundation, Transformative Development Capacities, Aurecon as well as UN staff members.