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Story Highlights

  • Young persons of the Commonwealth are being encouraged to do their part in helping the 53 member states to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set last year.
  • The 17 SDGs and 169 targets seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and complete what they did not achieve.
  • They work within an international group to develop solutions to some of the planet’s most pressing issues.

Young persons of the Commonwealth are being encouraged to do their part in helping the 53 member states to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set last year.

The call comes from the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, who noted that as future leaders, the youth have a major role to play in this regard.

“Make sure those SDGs are owned by each of you and delivered by each of you, because I want us to remember that what each of us does makes a difference, and everything starts with you,” she said.

Baroness Scotland was speaking at a Town Hall meeting, staged at the Regional Headquarters of the University of the West Indies in St. Andrew, on July 8.

In 2015, countries globally adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.

The 17 SDGs and 169 targets seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and complete what they did not achieve. The targets are expected to be achieved over the next 15 years.

Baroness Scotland challenged young people to work towards delivering on the objective of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21), to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

The Secretary-General also called on the youth to do their part in delivering on the Charter of the Commonwealth, which sets out the values of the Commonwealth of Nations as well as the commitment of its 53 member states to equal rights and democracy.

Baroness Scotland reminded the young people in attendance at the forum that they each have an opportunity to make a difference and to make an impact.

“That is what the challenge that I am starting here in Jamaica is all about,” she said, adding that she intends to make similar messages to Africa, the Pacific, the Asian region, and Europe.

She noted that of the 2.3 billion people comprising the Commonwealth, 60 per cent are going to be under the age of 30 by 2030, and the onus is on the youth to propel the 53 nations forward.

“The future is going to be decided by what you do and what you fail to do. If you choose to do nothing, remember that is a choice and consequences flow from your choices. It depends on each of you,” the Secretary-General said.

Baroness Scotland was in Jamaica to launch a youth leadership initiative dubbed the ‘33Sixty’ programme. It equips aspiring Commonwealth leaders (aged 18-30) with the skills and the networks to make a difference, now.

They work within an international group to develop solutions to some of the planet’s most pressing issues.