The European Youth Forum calls on world leaders to #YouthUp the Sustainable Development Goals
8 days, 36 high-level meetings, 147 side meetings, 77 ministers, cabinet secretaries and deputy ministers and 2458 stakeholders, three of them from the European Youth Forum. These figures describe the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2017, where follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda has been taking place.
At the event, 44 countries, including 12 European countries, presented their progress on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals through so-called Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). In many cases, civil society has been excluded from the VNR process. However, the HLPF provides a space for civil society to challenge member states by asking questions from the floor – an opportunity that has been gladly taken up by the European Youth Forum on behalf of national youth councils from VNR countries.
Dejan Bojanic, Vice-President of the Youth Forum, delivered an intervention on behalf of Youth Forum member organisation RADA, the Belarusian National Youth Council. He stressed the restrictions regarding freedom of association in the country and the lack of space for civil society to participate in the implementation, follow up and review, of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Stephanie Beecroft, Policy and Advocacy Team Leader at the European Youth Forum, addressed the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister. Her statement concerned the exploitation of young workers through unpaid internships. Currently Belgium has the highest percentage of unpaid interns in the EU, with only 1 in 5 (18%) being paid for work.
Youth must be seen as an important partner in the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda. The European Youth Forum was proud to be able to actively contribute to the discussions and will continue to ensure that youth rights are a priority.
Read the statement from RADA on Belarus’ Voluntary National Review.