At Rio+20; the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), countries agreed to establish an intergovernmental process to develop a set of “action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate” sustainable development goals (SDGs) to help drive the achievement of sustainable development. In response to this, and with a broad consultation, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” were adopted by world leaders at a historic UN Summit in September 2015 and subsequently came into force on 1st of January 2016. Over the next fifteen years and with these new goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
Also in December 2015 in Paris, an historic agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient, and sustainable future was agreed upon by 195 nations. The Paris Agreement for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current, and future responsibilities. The universal agreement’s main aim is to hold global average temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.On 5th October 2016, the threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was achieved after more than 55 Parties to the Convention have signed and ratified the Agreement. Ghana signed onto and ratified the Agreement on 22nd of April, 21st September 2016 respectively.
The pursuance and achievement of these global goals at the national level will require active participation of young people not only because they will inherit the responsibility of taking care of the earth but also, decisions taking by our leaders today have effects on their lives with serious implication on their future as well. It is in the realization of this and recognition of the fact that the youth, particularly those in the informal sector are significantly vulnerable to disasters, climate related risks, and conflicts that, the Greener Impact International (GII) and its partners; the African Youth Initiative on climate change, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Ghana National Youth Authority (NYA) with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is organizing a 3 day National Youth Conference to create awareness about the SDGs and the Climate Change Agenda among Ghanaian youth and to build their capacities and promote their participation in the implementation of these two important global agreements. Apart from providing sufficient mentoring and skill building opportunities for young people to effectively contribute to the national sustainable development agenda, this initiative is also intended to help the country demonstrate its commitment to engaging youth in the context of all international conventions and charters it has signed.
The event has been developed and designed to: