The development agenda was centred on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were officially launched following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000.They have essentially now been replaced by the Sustainable Development (SDGs), which is tied to the Rio+20 Outcome Document.
The UN describes sustainable development as one that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also called Global Goals and Agenda 2030 are an inter-governmentally agreed set of targets relating to international development. They will follow the parts of the Millennium Development Goals into the Post-2015 which simply refers to the period that extends soon after the expiry of the MDGs this year, and within the UN circles that period is simply the SDG era.
A lot has been said about the new goals: things like the objectives are more realistic; it would increase participation among youths and perfectly designed than the MDGs. While other critics believe that the goals are difficult to achieve and are too many to properly be assimilated within a nation or state structure.
Meanwhile, just like the MDGs, the SDGs were not just adopted. There were several seminars, consultations and conferences by various groups, including the United Nations Youths Assembly with over 600 youth delegates from more than 30 countries converging to discuss the loopholes observed in the MDGs that need to filled by the SDGs.
An overview of the MDGs and their successors depicts that former focused on the social and economic aspects of development while the new goals are laying emphasis on the environmental aspect of development.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are:
1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere; 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning; 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all; 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all; 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Others include:10: Reduce inequality within and among countries; 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns; 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources; 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss; 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies and 17: Revitalise global partnerships.
Basically however, looking at the SDGs, one would ask how the youths would participate in achieving these goals because they are the bedrock of any country. And so, for these to be attained, younger people are supposed to be involved both in planning and execution in order to achieve the enormous goals for the benefit of the world as a whole.
Whenever the structure of the SDGs is formed in Nigeria, it will be necessary to increase youth involvement as this will ensure that the goals of the SDGs are attained by 2030. Nonetheless, youths need to work either collectively or individually to see that these goals are attained for their betterment and that of future generations as the universal goals aim at improving the lives of everyone, everywhere without exclusions.