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Peak Youth Generation Will Deliver the SDGs

Picture: Restless Development

We have hit ‘peak youth’ – there never has been, and never will be, as many young people proportionally in any generation as this.

This was the striking message given by Nik Hartley, CEO of Restless Development, a youth-led NGO.

Although populations in Europe are getting older, many developing countries have burgeoning young societies and it is with them that the power of ‘development’ lies.

The time is now for this generation to make a difference in the world – leading on the front line, delivering the sustainable development goals and being celebrated for it. Nik said 2,300 young people were at the forefront of community based action to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone, who’s efforts and stories are not extolled enough in western development and crisis narratives.

Nik’s keynote address was a fitting end to a fantastic day of discussion and reflection on the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). 6 workshops took place, looking at cross-cutting issues and ultimately what students, young people and international cooperation can achieve.

Organised by LIDC, in collaboration with the UCL institute of global prosperity, the conference took place as part of a larger body of research into ‘thinking beyond sectors’ for the SDGs – the book of which can be downloaded for free.

As Dame Herrietta Moore, director of the institute, put it: international partnership will be crucial to delivering the SDGs – but with such a broad range of goals covering everything from energy to traffic accidents, prioritisation is going to be key. So who is going to choose? It will be the young millennial citizens of this generation to decide what matters most for them.