UN MGCY Statement
High-Level Political Forum
11 July 2016
Session 2 : Ensuring that No One is Left Behind: Envisioning an inclusive world in 2030
Link to Statement:
2016 HLPF – UN MGCY Statement in Session 2
Thank you for giving us the floor. I am speaking on behalf of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth.
The concept of ‘Leave no one Behind’ has implications for all three dimensions of Sustainable Development. Having said this, we want to highlight a few points of importance to us.
The median age of the world population is 29.6 years, meaning that half of the global population is below this age. In many African countries, the median age is below the age of 18. However, meaningful youth engagement is not a common practice in many policy processes even though it is a fundamental right. Young people are diverse and face distinct and unique challenges. To leave no young people behind, we must reach and engage all young people, in all their diversity, equally and equitably.
In line with paragraph 23 of the 2030 Agenda and paragraph 127[c] of the Johannesburg Plan of Action, we want to highlight the urgency for investing in empowerment, capacity development, and institutionalisation of meaningful engagement of young people, especially those furthest behind at all stages of policy processes.
More than just accommodating modalities accordingly, meaningful youth participation requires actively reaching out to those furthest behind. It is essential to make designated funding available for youth-led and youth-serving organizations at all levels, to engage in the design, implementation, monitoring, and follow up and review of policy, supported by the provision of comprehensible, complete, and easy-to-access information in a youth-friendly manner, and in accessible languages, including sign language. In the absence of these elements, engagement fails to be meaningful.
Children and youth are part of almost every segment of society, and the needs of women, indigenous people, people with disabilities, displaced populations, LGBTQI people and other marginalized groups will not be adequately addressed if the perspectives, rights and needs of children, adolescents and youth belonging to those groups are not taken into account. An inclusive, participatory and human rights-based approach is crucial for this.
Next to including all people, it is essential to include all places and regions, because marginalization takes place in all zones within countries. Leaving No One Behind should be expanded to “Leaving No Place Behind.” Inequalities exist within and between urban and rural areas in this urbanising world, and territorial specificities play a big role to ensure that no one is left behind. The dichotomy of rural-urban areas should be changed into an urban-rural continuum.
Young people, in all their diversity, should also play a crucial role, especially in data collection and analysis. Furthermore, data disaggregation by age, in two-year intervals up to, at least, the age of 19, as well as by gender, ethnic, income, territory, and other status, while respecting their right to confidentiality and privacy, is key. Further investment in data collection on the situation of children, adolescents and youth living in vulnerable circumstances is necessary, to include those that are now invisible in official statistics.
To conclude: to leave no one behind means that children, adolescents, and youth must not only be lifted up by Sustainable Development Frameworks, but seen as partners in design, plan, implementation, monitoring, follow up and review at all level.