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NY+20 Statement to World Leaders:
A Youth Vision for Sustainable Development in the Context of Rio+20
30 April 2012
Principle 21 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development proclaims that, “the creativity, ideals and courage of the youth of the world should be mobilized to forge a global partnership in order to achieve sustainable development and ensure a better future for all.”
We the participants of New York +20 (NY+20), representing a diverse group of youth, came together in New York City on 27 April 2012 as part of the MyCity+20 global youth initiative to assert our shared commitment to a healthy and sustainable world. We seek to draw on our “creativity, ideals, and courage” to engage youth in the United Nations processes that impact our future. At NY+20 we established four critical areas for action ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and we now call for world leaders to implement the following commitments:
International Environmental Governance
We envision the creation of a United Nations Environment Organization that will serve as the primary coordinating body for environmental issues at the UN and improve efficiency, transparency and equitable participation of all stakeholders.
Accountable Sovereignty: Establish national sustainability commitments in a public registry, but also convene a global independent body with input from civil society, to make a second set of commitment recommendations;
Inclusive Representation: Advance youth representation in international governance through furthering awareness of opportunities for youth participation in the UN, such as youth delegates on official delegations;
Responsible Finance: Strengthen the stringency of environmental and social impact assessment in project financing by working with financial institutions.
We envision a more holistic integration of sustainability into all professions and education systems to enable a transformation to the green economy.
Equitable Growth: Adopt public policies that create enabling environments for the private sector to create accessible, decent and meaningful green jobs;
Peaceful Livelihoods: Leverage green jobs as a strategy to demilitarize nations by providing alternative options and livelihoods for youth;
Sustainable Development Education: Incorporate sustainable development into education and training, and improve access for marginalized youth.
Ombudsperson for Future Generations
We envision accountable guardians for future generations, at all levels of governance, that have a comprehensive mandate to engage and enlighten the present citizenry about the needs and rights of future generations.
Recognize Authority: Re-incorporate the Ombudsperson or High Commissioner for Future Generations language in to the negotiating text;
Transparent & Democratic: Establish such a position with a system of checks and balances, potentially through a Council for Future Generations;
Paradigm Shift: Foster a culture of long-term thinking in the practices and institutional structures of non-state organizations and civil society.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
We envision a set of Sustainable Development Goals that promote and protect the economic, environmental, and social well-being of present and future generations.
Assessment of Happiness: Measure well-being through inclusion of happiness metrics, as proposed by the Gross National Happiness Index;
Well-being Metrics: Take steps toward establishing universal goals and indicators to measure overall well-being, as complementary to Gross Domestic Product, and to build upon the progress of the Millennium Development Goals;
Continue Dialogue: Implore leaders to launch a framework for the establishment of SDGs at Rio+20 that are responsive to the needs of youth.
We, the inheritors of this world, see Rio+20 not as an outcome but as the beginning of a long-term process and movement for the future we want. We commit to being ombudspersons in our own lives by educating our communities on how to impact the international dialogue on sustainable development. We pledge to work in partnership with youth around the world to advocate for policies and programs that ensure the future we need.
The Human Impacts Institute was a co-organizer of this event.