The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit took place on September 25, 2015. It is on this date that world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was co-chair of this summit but also for the first time, 193 young people were witnesses to this moment.
I was one of those youth delegates seated at the balcony of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), below us were world leaders from across 193 United Nations. Among other world leaders was the 266th and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop of Rome Pope Francis. It is now almost a year since these ambitious goals were adopted.
Sixteen years ago, The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were passed in the year 2000. I was hardly 12 years at the time and just in my primary seven at Mwiri Primary school, little did I know about MDGs and what they meant to me as a child. MDGs only got into focus when I first got involved with Restless Development as a 19 year old volunteer in rural Buwenge- JInja district and underwent a Peer Educators training with them. One of the reasons why the MDGs were not fully achieved is the lack of meaningful involvement of developing countries and their citizens in the formulation and implementation of these MDGs. Fortunately, the story with SDGs has now changed, everybody but most importantly the youth globally are involved. We know about these goals, we are concerned and we will do everything within our means to hold our leaders accountable in order to achieve the SDGs.
Fourteen years from now (2030), SDGs will come to an end, some our leaders will be long gone or no longer in leadership. As young people now, we have everything to benefit in achieving these goals and make the world be a better place to live in at our time. I imagine a world without poverty, HIV, Hunger, where every child enjoys quality education, a world without discrimination and a world with decent work and economic growth for all, this is the kind of world that our leaders have signed up to by 2030. We did not sign up to these commitments for the sake of political or diplomatic relations; it is time for us to step our game up as a country and action our commitments.
One such big resource that we have as a country are the youth. If as a country we do not do much in investing in the lives of young people, our future as a country remains in balance, it is the young people who are holding the pillars of Uganda’s tomorrow, they need good health, quality education, jobs among other things.
The writer is a skills development manager with USAID/Feed The Future Youth Leadership for Agricultural Activity