Sustainable Development Goals – what can Gen Y & Z do?
17 Sustainable Development Goals were ratified by 193 countries last December. 17 Goals that have the ability to change our world. 17 Goals that will affect us all. Globally.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a guiding light for us here at Future Considerations. We believe that they hold the key to so much that can be evolved for the better: in Leadership, in our Organisations and for Society as a whole. So you can understand our excitement when we were invited to facilitate the Youth Engagement Breakout Session on 25th April 2016 at the UKSSD Conference.
The UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) is an open platform that supports public, private and voluntary organisations working towards sustainable development in the UK. The objective of their April conference “Towards A Sustainable UK” was to bring UK Stakeholders together to kick-start the grass-roots implementation of the SDGs in the UK.
UKSSD co-chairs Farooq Ullah and Dominic White said of the conference:
“With more than 100 participants, keynote speeches from globally acclaimed sustainability leaders, a high-level panel of experts and 10 breakouts sessions covering a compelling range of topics, this conference represents an invaluable addition to the development of a true multi-stakeholder, coordinated approach to delivering our domestic responsibilities on the new United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which the UK has adopted along with 193 Member States of the UN in September 2015.”
Engaging our Youth for Action
The youth engagement session brought together a cross-sector and cross-generational group of people who share a passion for the SDGs and see the role of young people as essential in our ability to deliver those SDGs by 2030, including representatives from Accountability Advocates & Restless Development, Global Learning Initiative, UN Global Compact, SEED and School of International Futures.
In the session, we created a 3 dimensional representation of the UK social and economic ‘system’, to explore the question:
“How can we reach and engage young people to play an active role in making the SDG’s a reality in the UK?”
This unique approach gives stakeholders from different parts of the system the possibility to ‘see’ the system as a whole as well as their role within the whole. By creating a visual microcosm of the whole, we inquire into what works and doesn’t work in the current system, identify the key leverage points, and create a shared understanding what needs to change.
This social technology is particularly suited to working with multi-stakeholder groups, as it encourages diverse stakeholders to co-create from what the system needs instead of from a place of what they need. It also enables a multi-stakeholder group to quickly identify prototypes/ solutions to the systemic issues they identify.
For example, two of the prototypes that emerged from the session were a youth council on each of the SDGs to hold government accountable to future generations, and an SDG “roadshow” for young people across the UK creating opportunities for two-way dialogue and non-formal educational spaces and engage young people in simple actions that everyone can be apart of.
Growing the SEEDS of Change
In holding this conference, the UKSSD’s intention was to spark grass roots activity amongst the UK stakeholder community toward the implementation of the SDGs in the UK.
We already know of two events that have been inspired to follow up the work we started. On the 18th June 2016, we supported the Accountability Advocates at the launch of the National Accountability Framework for SDGs and on 29th June SEED are holding a Young Change Makers for the Sustainable Development Goals forum.
We’re also cooking up some exciting projects and collaborations around supporting young people globally to evolve and influence the implementation of SDGs in their countries. Watch this space. And if you’d like to get involved, please contact me.