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Statement delivered by Youth Delegate Sara Rønning-Bæk at the High Level Segment of the High Level Political Forum 2018, 19 July 2018

19.07.2018  20:15

(Check against delivery)

Dear delegates, excellencies and distinguished guests
 
My name is Sara, and I am one of six youth delegates from Denmark. It is an honour to be addressing this forum today.
 
Being a youth delegate means many things. Most importantly, I get to engage young people on the substance of the SDGs, and also I get to be an advocate of why youth has to be engaged in structures such as this.
 
The 2030 Agenda is here to stay. Luckily. The agenda is of high priority to Denmark. We need to transition our societies at the all levels in order to progress towards sustainable solutions
Today, I will comment on SDG 11, 12 and 17.
 
Our future cities demand new solutions. With my fellow youth delegates from Europe, we organized a side-event with focus on possible solutions. Allow me to share our key findings:
 
Today’s city planning requires a long-term, co-created process where local stakeholders find solutions to mobility issues in a way that suits their specific needs. Also, we see a need for accountability on these issues to ensure progression.
 
Sustainable transition is an agenda for all, and we have the obligation to look at our production and consumption as well - my second point of today.
 
On SDG 12 many member states need to take a deep look within - this goes for Denmark as well. Principles of circular economy are slowly integrating in our business models and personal lifestyles. There is an urgent need for developed countries to take responsibility and consume less.

My last point of today concerns a goal that enables the rest: SDG 17: Partnerships! In this case partnerships between generations.
 
Of all 193 member states, young voices of only 10 countries are represented here at HLPF by official youth delegates. This is without taking the geographical representation into consideration - it being very unbalanced, since all of us, the official youth delegates, are coming from Europe.
 
Denmark is committed to walk the talk on the youth agenda. Allow me to share an example of the Danish approach.
 
Youth figures prominently in Danish development strategy as both a cross-cutting theme and a stand alone focus. We want always to engage youth in a meaningful way – not just as beneficiaries, but as partners and leaders.
 
To help us on this we commissioned a review of our youth-related development engagements. A review team and a youth advisory panel consisting of 11 young people from all around the world that provided inputs on the review. And lastly, an online survey for young people was conducted.
 
The review concluded that we have a solid base of expertise but also areas for improvement on our youth engagement practices.
 
One of the recommendations was to embed young people in the VNR process. And this was realized last year when the Danish National Youth Council provided an independent contribution to Denmark’s VNR report and the Danish Youth Delegate was a part of the Danish delegation.
 
Youth participation is still a privilege rather than a right. It’s for the few rather than for the many.  As the HLPF reaches its conclusion, we appeal that member states doing their VNR next year address meaningful inclusion and participation. Those of us who have a platform must insist on diversity in these processes - whether it be young people, LGBT+ community, indigenous people, people with disabilities or another stakeholder.
 
Youth can be agents of positive change. Together  - across generations - we must unlock young people’s potential by investing not only in their needs, but also in their rights.
 
From experience I know that youth all over the world want to discuss the substance of the SDGs. Young people have to participate in decision-making that impact their lives.

I urge you to recognize youth as a key stakeholder, an expert in panel, an ally in sustainable development and a partner for Agenda 2030. Youth are crucial partners in the implementation, follow-up and review of the SDGs.
 
Thank you.
 



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