Here’s how to lend your voice to the SDGs

Posted on December 18, 2018

We need to hear from young people on the SDGs (and everything else)!

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a ground breaking set of global goals that cover just about every major problem facing humanity today, from tackling the climate crisis to ensuring good employment and healthcare for all.

In 2016 almost every country in the world committed to tackling these issues together by 2030. This is a HUGE deal. If we reach the goals it would be an amazing achievement for all humanity. Imagine a world with no poverty, with gender equality and prosperity. This is the world the goals could lead to. However, although this sounds excellently John Lennon-y there is a lot that could stop that happening. The SDGs aren’t legally binding, they rely on individual governments to turn promises into effective policies. This means that for the goals to be a success, we need to make them a success.

We need to make sure that the voices of people who are passionate about affecting change in these areas, who are personally affected by the issues or who have ideas for a better future, are heard loud and clear and incorporated into policy.

The problem

Trouble is, the people whose perspectives are normally heard on topics like the SDGs often fall into very particular groups. Looking around the International conferences where these things are decided, where collective humanity is supposed to be represented, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d walked into a golf club or a particularly dull cruise. Notably, there’s normally a distinct lack of young people.

This disconnect is one of the reasons that the words of kick-ass 15 year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had such an impact at the recent UN climate conference in Katowice. When young people are given a platform they often give a much-needed different take on the same events. Check out her barnstorming speech…

On a National level as well, young people are often absent from the rooms where decisions are made. The average age of MSPs is 49, for MPs, it’s 50 and the House of Lords averages 123 (joking, it’s a spritely 70). Whilst this doesn’t necessarily make them bad representatives, it does mean that they are less likely to be personally affected by the issues facing young people. Young people straightforwardly have a very different experience when it comes to jobs, mental health, education, and many other issues, compared to the people representing us.

This is why it’s so important that young people’s voices are heard on these issues, we need to get into these rooms. If this is where the future is being decided then everyone needs to be a part of it.

What we want to do about it!

We are looking for 30 volunteers, aged 16-24 to be part of a project aimed at bringing the voice of young people to the heart of government.

Over the course of a year we’ll work together to generate and share ideas around the SDGs and how to make government more open for everyone. We’ll give you training, a platform and will link you up with other young people working on these issues around the world.

Sound good?

If you are interested in getting involved we want to hear from you! Click here for more info or to sign up!

If you have any questions please contact Matt.Sellar@projectscotland.co.uk