Each year, Ministers from all over the world gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to review the progress made in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). This year’s HLPF provided an opportunity to highlight youth participation in the implementation of the SDGs and showcase lessons learned and national practices.
Here’s three areas where young people were really brought to the fore:
Increased importance placed on young people in national processes
While a good number of the 22 Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) submitted to last year’s HLPF had some mention of youth, few included an in-depth assessment of how youth development and engagement factor into implementing the SDGs.
This year, the number of Member States reporting on their progress substantially increased to 43, and several of them mentioned young people as important stakeholders in their official presentations and reports. This year’s HLPF also saw an increase in the number of youth delegates attending the Forum
Some Member States, such as Sweden, Slovenia, and the Netherlands even included a youth delegate to take part in the official presentation of their national progress.
Young people in several instances were able to directly contribute to the VNR reports, such as in the Netherlands, where a piece of the report had been written solely by the national youth council.
Reflecting on this experience, youth delegate from the Netherlands, Max Van Deursen highlighted the added value of including young people into these processes in three main points: young people saw different priorities than the government; they identified different demographic groups that were left behind; and the exercise in itself forced young people into discussion about the SDGs.