By Hameed Muritala
After the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, the United Nations (UN) is in the process of developing the next set of international development goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A conference that will address youth involvement in the formulation of these Post-2015 international goals will be held at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State on June 4, 2015. The youth conference is organized by the Building Bridges foundation, Netherlands in partnership with UN.
The conference theme is, “Beyond 2015, Promoting Gender Equality and Good Governance”, while deliberations at the conference will be based on two sub themes, which are “Re-thinking Women’s empowerment and Gender Equality in 2015 and Beyond” and Good Governance – The Initiative From A Sustainable Perspective.”
According to the Building Bridges ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Lemo, the conference aims to picture the new Post-2015 development agenda through the eyes of young people at the grassroots who will be the largest beneficiaries of these agenda.
He argued that the youth have been historically isolated from high-level policy determination despite their large size and roles to development of the world, stressing that, “the youth were not actively involved in the formulation of MDGs in the year 2000.”
“The youth must participate in the formulation of these new international development goals because they will be the ones to feel the impacts of this new framework.
“By including young people in policy formulation and development, they become more empowered, gain a stronger voice and determine their own future. This is why the UN has provided platforms for the youth to contribute their voices towards the formulation of the SDGs,” he noted.
Gbenga disclosed that similar conferences of this nature have been held in some parts of Europe and Africa in the past few months. About 200 Nigerian youth from different parts of the country are expected to participate at the conference.
Expected to speak at the conference are the UN General Assembly youth representatives from the Netherlands, Jilt Van schayik and Teun Melaupus, and Dr. (Mrs.) Saudat AbdulBaqi, a senior lecturer at the Department of Mass communication, Unilorin.
Others are Maurice Pauluseen from the Netherlands embassy in Nigeria, Babatomiwa Adesida who is the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Sahara Group. Also expected to grace the occasion are the Netherlands ambassador to Nigeria, John Groffen and the Vice-chancellor of Unilorin, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali.
The outcomes of the conferences will be presented to the UN during her high level post-2015 summit in September, 2015 in New York.