An Essential Yet Overlooked Driving Force For the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Written by Ralien Bekkers, Netherlands Youth Representative on Sustainable Development at the United Nations, on the Huffington Post:

“We currently live in an extremely exciting as well as unbelievably worrying time. World problems seem to get bigger everyday and much more complex, sometimes — well, often — even unmanageable for us as humans. However, I believe that we are currently in possession of a very crucial, valuable and scarce opportunity that can lead us to a world in which poverty will be ended, and sustainability can be created. If it were up to me, the new post-2015 development agenda would be a starting point for a new world.

The sustainable development goal (SDG) process so far has shown a certain hope that I have not felt often at UN conferences. I have been disappointed by many already and I feel around my peers that we are not far from giving up: something very worrying. Unfortunately, this process also currently risks falling in the usual trap of prevailing political issues, power games and diplomatic habits over real substance and people. This cannot happen — we must deliver.

We might have a serious shot at creating an agenda the world really wants and needs. An agenda with as its ultimate goal ending poverty (technically that would be possible, as it is just the system that we created ourselves that holds us back in succeeding) and creating sustainability (again, we as humans created this unsustainable system ourselves). We urgently need to work on issues such as water, food and energy — both the provision of universal access and the creation of long term sustainable systems.”

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