A high number of young people across the globe are still experiencing poor education and employment more than two years into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, according to the World Youth Report on “Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
The Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) observe that even though the global economy has started to recover, youth employment has worsened in recent years.
The report focuses on only two SDGs; education and employment, saying the realization of targets under these Goals are fundamental to overall youth development.
“There are presently 71 million young people unemployed, and many millions more are in precarious or informal work,” The report says.
Even more disturbing, the report further reveals that about 156 million youth in low- and middle-income countries are living in poverty even though they are employed.
The report maintains that the youth will play a significant role in achieving the 2030 agenda.
“Having decent work is crucial for young people and their future, but it also has a domino effect on local communities, countries and the world as a whole,” the report says.
According to the Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development report, one of the most serious impediments to effectively address youth development challenges under the 2030 Agenda is the lack of timely and accurate age-disaggregated data on the situation of youth.
“While 90 of the 232 indicators developed to measure implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals can be considered relevant to young people, efforts to collect data on these indicators reveal a widespread lack of age-disaggregated data,” the report observes.
Today, there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 percent of the global population.
“The active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is central to achieving sustainable, inclusive and stable societies by the target date, and to averting the worst threats and challenges to sustainable development, including the impacts of climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender inequality, conflict, and migration,” the report says.
The report by UNDESA also recommends using relevant and timely data on how much and how well public financial resources have been utilized to achieve youth-related goals are essential for addressing gaps and improving the effectiveness of existing spending.
The report highlights finance and measurement at the level of global policy as the major issues that need to be addressed as part of worldwide youth development efforts while at the national level; it calls on an acceleration of policy and programmatic responses to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The report further urges countries to draw insights from the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which commits countries to promoting stable and affordable access to finance in support of small and medium-sized enterprises, which are essential for promoting job creation.
The Report further underlines the need to strengthen youth participation mechanisms to facilitate young people’s engagement in policies and activities that enhance sustainable development efforts.
“Particular attention should be given to increasing youth involvement in national sustainable development coordination councils, working with national youth councils, expanding the United Nations Youth Delegate Programme and other opportunities for youth representation, and ensuring that young people contribute to voluntary national reviews of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals,”
The Report also highlights key elements for an effective youth policy, which include; providing political leadership and strategic vision; securing adequate budget and resource allocations; using timely and accurate data on the situation of young people; utilizing the knowledge, experience and expertise of young people in the design, implementation and evaluation of the youth policy; mainstreaming and integrating youth policies across sectors; taking into account the linkages and impacts of policy objectives; and developing a transparent monitoring and accountability framework.
These highlights would come in handy for Kenya, which is the process of implementing the much-awaited national youth policy.