Three Ways Youth Are Engaging With The Global Goals!


U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations Donya Nasser, speaks on a panel during the United Nations Association of the United States of America’s (UNA-USA) Members Day in New York. [UNA-USA Photo]

In 2015, world leaders adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a shared global development agenda from now until 2030. These goals build on the eight Millennium Development Goals that were adopted in 2000 and created dedicated targets to achieve by 2015, such as reducing poverty. The global goals for sustainable development are unique in that they were developed with youth, keeping their interests in mind.

Youth are incredibly important to the implementation and success of the global goals. Young people had a say and made sure the international community heard their voice.

Here are three ways that youth can engage — and are engaging — with the global goals:


There are over 1.8 billion youth in the world, and in many countries, they are the majority. Historically, young people have been left out of policy and politics. They are disillusioned and disenfranchised by systems that work against their interests and without their voices.

Young people are taking a stand all over the world, claiming their right to be an active part of the system because they have learned just how much they can be affected. They’re demanding a place in decision-making processes because if it concerns them, they must be a part of the conversation.

Young people are running for office, joining community boards, serving as Youth Delegates and Youth Ambassadors to the United Nations, applying for Youth Advisory Boards, and more.

They are not complacent, but adamant about making the voices of youth heard, and this is vital to engaging with the global goals. There can’t be success with goals such as Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and Goal 17 (Partnership for the Goals) if one of the largest and most important demographic groups is systematically and intentionally left out of the conversation.


This is one of the most powerful tools that youth have been utilizing to engage with the global goals. The incredible momentum that led up to the adoption of the global goals was spurred in part by young people and the use of social media apps, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Take for example a group of German Youth Delegates who completed a consultation bike tour with youth in order to discuss politics, the United Nations, the global goals, and what they meant to German youth. After the tour, they developed a Tumblr page to promote their experiences internationally. This is a clear example of how youth are using social media to engage with the global goals.


The ECOSOC Youth Forum was important for the hundreds of youth from all over the world that gathered because they were able to hear from experts and people on the ground, but most importantly they were able to hear and interact with other youth.

That’s why they’re spending more time uplifting each other and encouraging one another to engage with the Global Goals on a personal level. Youth understand that Goal 5 (Gender Equality) isn’t achievable without empowering other young women and men in our efforts (see the HeForShe campaign). They understand that Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) can only be achieved if youth entrepreneurship and a collective effort to engage young innovators isn’t forgotten. And finally, they are aware that Goal 13 (Climate Action) can only be implemented if young people are empowered to work with decision-makers and stakeholders in saving our planet.

Youth understand, perhaps better than any other major demographic on the planet, that cooperation is the key to changing the world–and soon the world will be theirs to lead and influence.

Originally Published: U.S. Department of State Official Blog | 23 February 2016