United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Alianza Latinoamericana y Caribena de Juventudes (LAC Youth Alliance)

Statement by Jennifer Vinas-Forcade (Uruguay)
Alianza Latinoamericana y Caribena de Juventudes (LAC Youth Alliance)
United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2016, September 26th
On behalf of the LAC Youth Alliance, as part of the YLWG, I'm grateful for this opportunity.
I envisioned providing a decalogue today: 10 ways to effectively involve young people in this Agenda.
But I don't have the magic recipe. We'll need to figure it out together! Here are lessons learned from five-years'-work of youth-led organizations:
#1 No one size fits all: regarding ambition, these global goals portray the "lowest common denominator" of challenges faced by countries and regions. Actual development requires structural changes beyond Agenda-2030.
#2 Eliminate all inequalities: 50% of world's resources belong to 1 % inhabitants. To leave no-one behind, eradicating poverty and hunger is a start, but re-distributing wealth, must be our aim. Our priority: young people; mainly women, sexual minorities, indigenous and afro-descendants, as the most affected by uneven resource allocation and access to services.
#3 Be aware of conflicting interests: though a global partnership is important, remember businesses exist for monetary profit. Governments must establish strict control mechanisms to guarantee sustainable development and human rights supersede economic interests of the private sector.
#4 Let us be the watchdog: CSOs also have interests, but we have experience in meaningfully working with the most marginalized towards human rights for all. When defining, adopting and measuring indicators, we must be part of it! We may not always come up with robust triple A indicators in the eyes of the Statistical Commission, but we can help make sure what CAN be measured truly portrays gaps and achievements.
#5 Allow time for transparent and democratic decision-making processes: youth-led organizations, often volunteer-based, struggle to touch-base quickly. Allow at least a week, to clarify doubts, consult and communicate results. 24hr decisions force us to finger-point or decide on an ad-hoc basis. This damages our trust in one another, and also in you.
#6 Speak our languages: not everyone speaks or is confident in English. Even when English-fluent, most people don't understand UN-jargon and acronyms!
#7 Respect our bodies: no matter from which walk of life we come, our body is our territory. Sexual and reproductive rights must be secured for us to fully exercise other rights this agenda intends to guarantee.
#8 Strive to reach non-organized youth: Their rights, needs and interests are important even if they don't have a .org website.
#9 Secure continuity of youth involvement: unless we find Neverland, all youth at this summit will not "stay young" by the time this agenda comes to an end. If we are to sustain and increase youth participation, we must identify what motivates the youngest to take action, and have this agenda brought-down to people's daily lives.
#10 Believe it or not, it's not over: the political global consensus on goals and targets has been achieved, but this is not the end of our endeavor, it's just the start. Thank you.