The United Nations Summit and its ambitious seventeen sustainable Development Goals – the United Nations, our world has never been at a more defining moment.

The world realized major gains in previous attempts at accelerating global development including the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) and the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action. Maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, child mortality, poverty rate, illiteracy among others have been severely reduced in most countries.

However, the truth remains that as we come to the close of one agenda, a lot still has to be done.

Gender equality and women empowerment for example still remains a mirage in many countries in the world. Women in certain parts of the world are still exposed to retrogressive cultural practices such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation while others are still discriminated upon based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Many young girls and boys are still unable to access education or youth friendly health facilities or decent pay for decent work.

That’s why as world leaders plan to launch goals to guide global development for the next fifteen years, we must take stock of previous attempts, what worked and what didn’t and what we must do differently to realize accelerated global growth.

Even before implementation starts, the inclusive nature of developing the goals must be applauded. Member Countries gave out their views and what they wanted in the next phase of development as opposed to the top down approach of the Millennium Development Goals.

The deliberate plans by governments to open participation to civil society organizations and young people in a meaningful manner in developing goals, targets and indicators was also a welcome break from a past of mutual suspicion between government and civil society organizations.

But the job is not done. The first step is creating awareness of these new set of goals and what it means to child soldier in Congo, carbon emitting companies in China and the young person in Kenya.

However, this should not just be about elite young people. Young people from children headed households, those in slums, those without formal education, and those living below the poverty line must be involved in the domestication and implementation of this goals.

It is unfortunate that fifteen years after the start of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals many people remain unaware of such.
We must get it right this time, if we are to bequeath the world to the next generation.

As Barrack Obama did remind us during his visit to Nairobi, We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrowed it from our Children.

ROBERT ASEDA is the Partnerships and Policy Officer at the Network for Adolescents and Youth of Africa-Kenya Chapter, a youth led advocacy network that does sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy. He has a BSc. Population Health from Kenyatta University. He has undergone training on budget advocacy, policy advocacy and media advocacy by Planned Parenthood Global and Choice for Youth and Sexuality of the Netherlands. He has been involved in the ICPD process and is currently the chairman of the National Youth Consortium on the POST2015 Development Agenda comprising of young people from organizations working in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights in Kenya. He is also a radio personality, a creative blogger, poet and a regular contributor to local dailies in Kenya. Connect with him on twitter: @Varaq

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