Message From the Project Leader
Young people are often told of the myriad problems the world faces - from hunger to poverty, communicable disease to climate change. Of these, many are global challenges, that no single community or country can address alone. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by 193 countries in 2015, were meant to help focus the global agenda on such key issues facing all nations. Yet, in the face of the monumental scale of many of these problems, it is easy for young people to feel disenfranchised or helpless to act in the implementation of these ambitious goals.
In 2016, a study by the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) found that more than 207 million students were enrolled in higher education annually. This not only shows us that significant numbers of young people study, live, and work on university campuses around the world. It is also evidence of an unparalleled opportunity to engage large communities of young people in the pursuit of sustainable development.
When we first conceptualised the SDG Students Program, we asked ourselves: What if we could ensure that every student who walks onto a university and leaves it some three, four, or five years later can be a driving force for sustainable development? How can we design a program that engages not just young people who are already convinced of the importance of the SDGs, but students from all walks of life? The SDG Students Program today is a culmination of what we believe could be an answer to these questions.
If we are to create a sustainable world for future generations, we need young people to be active participants, not merely spectators, in addressing the pressing global challenges we see today. This begins by making sure that young people from all walks of life have knowledge of the SDGs, have opportunities to engage with the goals they are passionate about, and have pathways to take action on them in their local communities.
Each of us cannot change the world on our own. But if young people everywhere come together and take small actions in our communities, I believe we can collectively have significant impact. We invite you to be a part of this journey with us, and join a global movement of young people on universities around the world who are working to build a sustainable future. Changing the future starts on your campus with you.
Mock Yi Jun
Project Leader, Networks
UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth Initiative