By Maria Sterniczuk


What if your actions could ensure global environmental sustainability for future generations? Would you take action? Do you believe in the potential of young people to help achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?

Last year in New York, Youth Caucus members of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) asked Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on the MDGs, how he planned on involving young people. His response: 'You tell us!' So they did.

Over the next months, the Caucus invited youth experts from all over the world to the UN headquarters to discuss how national governments and international institutions like the World Bank could involve young people in the MDG campaign. In November they published a 75-page report entitled Youth and the MDGs: Challenges and Opportunities for Implementation that reviewed existing best practices and strategized how to inspire more youth participation in the campaign.

The report asks that young people to be viewed as partners and not obstacles in the implementation of the MDGs. It cites examples of youth-led rural development projects, entrepreneurship schemes and peer-to-peer education programs as excellent ways that young people can contribute to the fight for poverty eradication and protect the environmental health of our planet.

Ensuring environmental sustainability - Goal 7 - is an area where young people's active involvement can make big differences. Youth participation at the grass-roots level has already contributed significantly to halting and reversing environmental degradation. The report calls on countries to offer youth access to environmental entrepreneurship and policy-making decisions so that their voices can be heard. But opportunities for action do not stop at Goal 7; young people's actions must be felt at every level of MDG implementation.


Photo: R. Hadipranoto/UNEP/Topham




For a copy of the Youth and MDG report, visit For more information on the MDGs and how young people are getting involved visit and

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