Post-2015: the power of voice, inclusion and participation

Written by Shannon O’Shea on the UNICEF blog.

“Nearly anywhere you turn on the news lately, you will see headlines about inequality. However, perhaps inevitably, these issues are oversimplified in the headlines. The rich vs. poor, the 99% vs. the 1%, Wall Street vs. Main Street, etc. etc. If it was only about money—the ability to buy more cars, or more houses or more designer shoes, there might be some envy in the world, but things would be a lot easier. Of course, it isn’t that simple.

In fact, there are complex structural factors that keep people in poverty, and poverty is not only about lack of money, but it is about not having power — not having the ability to influence the institutions that make laws and govern our cities, states and countries. It is about not having the ability to fully reach your potential or determine your own destiny because you came up short in the lucky lottery of birth. Poverty is about not having a voice.

Over the last two years the UN system, in partnership with governments and civil society, has been working towards the inclusion of millions of people in crafting the next development agenda — an unprecedented effort to open up policy space for people from all walks of life to find and use their voice.

The stakes are high and the mandate is daunting: how can we work together — from the community level all the way up to the international stage — to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the world of today and of the future? These include: ending extreme poverty; making sure children don’t die of preventable diseases; ensuring every child has access to a quality education; and combating the negative effects of climate change so that children can grow up in a healthy world. Furthermore, how do we address inequalities so that the children of today and future generations have a chance to reach their full potential?”

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