Youth AccountabilityIf you read the blog, you will know that DSW will be actively participating in the European Development Days, the annual gathering of international development experts in Brussels this week, with several panel discussions and debates. With youth empowerment a core part of our work, we are pleased to be working with partners on a session on youth accountability for the post-2015 development agenda. Here, Georgia Potton of Restless Development sets the scene for the week ahead!

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are nearly here. In just over 3 months global leaders will meet and the opportunity to take serious action on some of the greatest challenges facing our world – poverty, inequality and catastrophic climate change – will be upon us. But in amongst the excitement we also have to ensure that these goals are not just promised, but that in the next 15 years, they are delivered.  

Youth Accountability for the post-2015 agenda

Ensuring the success of the SDGs therefore relies heavily on ensuring that accountability is prioritised in the post-2015 agenda. And with half the world currently under 25, who better to be at the heart of this accountability process than young people? That’s what myself, other Restless staff, two of our incredible action/2015 Youth Panelists and one of our Accountability Advocates are going to champion at the European Development Days in Brussels this week.

As it stands, young people are being consistently overlooked as powerful agents to hold global leaders to account, and not enough attention is being given to the fact that youth, more than any other demographic, are using data and new forms of social activism more than any other age group: let alone the exciting opportunities for monitoring and accountability this could ignite.

Youth AccountabilityYouth Accountability – where are the representatives?

A quick snapshot of the current situation and we see that less than 2% of parliamentarians around the world are in their 20s, in fact their average age is 53, and that only 1 in 3 countries are currently consulting young people about their plans for tackling poverty and development. This just isn’t good enough, and if nothing changes, if youth aren’t incorporated into the very centre of the post-2015 agenda, it doesn’t bode well for the sustainability, efficiency or success of the SDGs. How can you ignore over half the world’s population?

Youth Accountability at the EDDs

So in Brussels, Restless Development will be facilitating a session, in partnership with World Vision International and DSW, highlighting the critical role youth could play in holding all governments accountable to their commitments. We’ll also be hosting a stall on both days championing this very issue, showcasing the importance of incorporating young people in the SDG process on a local, national and global level. Our two Youth Panellists will also be sharing all their incredible work prior to the SDG implementation and advocating for a new generation in the campaign who can continue to hold leaders to account post 2015.

The UN Secretary General himself recognised that the biggest shortfall in achieving the Millennium Development goals was a lack of strong accountability at both national and international levels. We can’t make the same mistake again and we can’t continue to overlook the power of young people in this process.

I for one am extremely excited about the conversations that are going to take place on this important, yet often overlooked, issue. Join us and follow our activities on @restlessdev and #EDD15 on the 3rd and 4th of June!

Georgia Potton