PM urges world’s youth to lead a ‘revolution’

United Nations – Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley urged the children of the world to “lead the revolution”, as well as holding their leaders responsible as the annual spotlight on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) got started this past Monday.

The “SDG Moment” is taking place as the world faces a deepening cost-of-living crisis that carries huge implications for the advancement of the SDGs, especially in developing countries.

Convened by the UN Secretary General António Guterres, the Moment will provide world leaders with a platform to showcase the bold actions and solutions that are needed to set the world on course towards achieving the SDGs.

The SDG Moment event is expected to build the momentum ahead of the SDG Summit next year.

In her address to the event, Mottley, who is also co-chair of the SDG Advocates, said world leaders also need to ensure that the environment in which people live particularly in cities, can pprovide life for them because their actions of living are sustainable.

“You more than anyone else as children can lead the world in a waste free world, in a world that recognises that if we take the plastics and if we take things that we use and just throw away that they have to go somewhere,” she said

“You the children can lead the revolution to changing our habits and if you change those habits then the ‘to-do-list’ of protecting the oceans and protecting life on land becomes a little easier, but we can’t do that unless we also tackle the climate crisis.”

Mottley said those who will be on the front line must be those who expect to be living 50 years from now.

“If we can do all of that, and if we can ensure fairness by ensuring that we can end conflict and we can end corruption and we can tell the world that we don’t want only to talk about the ending of conflict in Ukraine,” the prime minister said.

“We want conflict ending in Tigray. We want conflict ending in Syria. We want conflict ending wherever it raises its head in the world. We want conflict ending when it appears under the guise of criminality, like it is in Haiti.

“We want you, my friends, the children of this world to hold us, the governments accountable and to recognise that we do have choice and leaders can make decisions and leaders are not constrained in the decisions that we make and everything does not depend on financing, although it is absolutely critical.”

Mottley went through the SDGs that 195 nations agreed seven years ago with the UN that were critical to change the world for the better.

The initiative is intended to be accomplished by bringing together governments, businesses, media, institutions of higher education, and local non-governmental organisations to improve the lives of the people in their country by the year 2030 in a number of areas.

The goals range from poverty alleviation to education, tackling the climate crisis and boosting the economy and showing the way forward to a better future for all on a safe and healthy planet.

“We ask you the children of this world to hold our feet to the fire and make this world a better place to live in,” Mottley said, adding that people of African descent were now the victims of double jeopardy.

“Our blood sweat and tears brought about the industrial revolution and for too many of us now we are on the front line of the climate crisis.

“How do we get through when we speak to you as young people. We ask you to go for education … so that you can be the best that you can be and ultimately that you can support yourself because freedom is about choice and to have that choice you need jobs and that’s what the ‘to-do-list’ at No. 8 tells us”

The third SDG Moment is a 90-minute event in the United Nations General Assembly hall that is expected to set the scene and lead into the Transforming Education Summit.

The organisers said to this end, the SDG Moment 2022 will among other things reinforce the continued relevance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and build momentum for major summits and inter-governmental meetings, as well as highlight urgent actions that for an equitable, inclusive, and accelerated transition to sustainable development.

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