Two CHOICE youth advocates, along with other young leaders from Nepal, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Georgia, met with European Parliamentarians and other European decision-makers to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim of this first Youth Meetup, organized by DSW, Dance4Life and CHOICE, was to lobby for a better integration of SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 4 (Quality Education), and SDG 5 (Gender Equality) in the manifestos for the next European Union Parliament Elections, which are held 22-24 May 2019.
The EU is facing many challenges. First of all, countries still have very different ideas about the future of Europe, making it difficult to create a common identity. There are several issues, such as migration and security, that demand a lot of attention from European countries, possibly at the expense of longer-term development goals like education. And let’s not forget that Brexit is also still around the corner! Moreover, negotiations on the new seven-year European Union budget called Multiannual Financial Framework or MFF are also going on. The direction of these negotiations will heavily depend on the newly elected parliaments. These challenges will have big consequences for the development aid that is provided to other regions in the world. So naturally, now is a key moment for young people to engage in Brussels.
Nevertheless, the Youth Meet up provided fruitful results and clear follow-up points! Our highlight? Presenting our recommendations to European Parliamentarians and other decision-makers! These recommendations, based upon consultations done in our own countries, provide clear action points that Parliamentarians should include in European development cooperation, and therefore also in their campaign for the upcoming elections.
recommendations on the SDGs
Young people are the ones directly impacted by the outcomes of the SDGs. We are 50.5% of the world's population, but 100% of the future, and the SDGs cannot be met without young people. Therefore, we recommend all MEPs to:
1. Meaningfully engage young people, including young women, in the planning, implementation and follow-up of all policies, including international policies.
2. Prioritize and push forward for accessible, equal and quality education in your future manifestos.
3. Mobilize for provision of solutions to education related issues in the upcoming MFF budget.
4. Apply a gender lens in all aspects of global development cooperation, and therefore apply it throughout all aspects of the political manifestos. Reaching SDGs including SDG 5 on gender equality and women's empowerment not only empowers women and girls, it empowers entire communities, societies and countries.
5. In order to truly change social norms and empower women and girls, fund sustainable and long-term development cooperation and aid, and not nonly focus on short-term goals.
6. Increase investment in adolescent friendly reproductive health and prioritze sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in mobilization and allocation of resources.
7. Ensure implementation of laws and policies which ensure the health right of young people and harmonize relevant policies by different stakeholders.
8. Improve access to family planning and SRHR services for adolescents and young people.
So, what now? Share these recommendations to any EU representative you know and let’s get them sign it too!