Youth around Samoa volunteering for the SDGsDec 9, 2016
More than one hundred young people turned up on Wednesday, 7 December, 2016 at the UN Compound to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and share information on their interpretation and plans to implement the SDGs back at the community level.
The young people from different youth groups (five persons per group) came from both Upolu and Savaii including NGOs, YWCA and Youth Climate Action Network (YCAN). Youth representatives from the Tokelau community were also present. Church youth groups were also well represented.
The half-day meeting with youth from around Samoa on the SDGs, facilitated by the UNDP Samoa Office focused on youth volunteerism and implementing the SDGs. It also gave due recognition to all volunteers marking International Volunteer Day on 5 December, 2016 and its theme of #globalapplause for this year.
The meeting had special guest, Peseta Noumea Simi as chairlady of the national taskforce on SDGS and in her capacity as CEO of the Ministry presenting government perspective on the implementation of the SDGs. Peseta said the government is launching the next Samoa National Development Strategy (SNDS) and one of the pillars in the document addresses the economic empowerment of youth. Samoa had updated the international community on progress with the SDGs at the High Level Political Forum held in New York in July as part of the SIDS Partnership Framework. She encouraged youth with all their energy to seek partnerships with government, the private sector and international community for the SDGs.
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Lizbeth Cullity welcomed the youth groups to UNDP and emphasised the importance of youth volunteerism contributing to development. She said the SDGs are a new set of global goals that will leave no one behind, recognising that society cannot reach its potential if young people – and marginalized youth - are excluded from participating in, contributing to, and benefiting from development. With half of the world under the age of 30, and children and young people constituting a growing demographic majority, it is important that the goals place youth at the forefront of change and development.
Youth groups were tasked to take the SDGs to discuss and interpret and to present to the group their ideas on implementation.
The theme of ‘think global, act local’, resonated loud and clear through the group deliberations.
Most of the youth groups volunteered to address the environment through organising a village clean up in their respective communities, replanting of mangroves and forming a network of youth groups creating awareness on the value of mangroves addressing climate change, youth groups embracing natural methods of food production and wanting to learn about organic farming, youth groups reaching out to people with disabilities, others volunteering to help the local school, and others to organise training in ICTs with the private sector.
Youth groups were encouraged on volunteerism for the SDGs and to seek partnerships with the private sector, the government, civil society groups, and the international community to help them in the implementation of the SDGs.
A similar forum is planned in the future to monitor and feedback on how youth groups have progressed with their plans on implementing the SDGs, and what challenges they encountered and achievements.