What Is It and Why Is It Important?
SDG 16 represents a key opportunity
to advance youth
empowerment by opening up decision-making processes, guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and ensuring accountability. Yet, meaningful channels of engagement that respect young people’s diversity
are lacking. Systems of exclusion
and civil, political, social, economic, and cultural discrimination
continue to confront young people globally.
VNRs could help transcend such barriers by promoting youth participation in national and local planning, budgeting, and decision-making processes, and in HLPF delegations..
How Is It Approached?
National Youth Structures, Pacts, and Charters
Governments, CSOs, IOs, and others should engage national youth structures, pacts, and charters to ensure that young people are supported as stakeholders in VNR design, implementation, and accountability.
National Youth Councils (NYCs)
, if perceived as legitimate and representative by young people, can strengthen participation and connect young people with decision makers. Four 2019 VNR countries highlighted discussions with NYCs.
Engagement could also link to national youth policies, NDPs and related frameworks.
National SDG Consultations and Workshops
In preparing for the VNR, youth should be consulted through national SDG consultations and workshops.
For example, under the theme of Leave No One Behind, a national youth SDGs consultation was held in Tanzania in 2019, focusing on youth’s participation in SDG implementation, including with an emphasis on SDG 16. Inputs were featured in Tanzania’s 2019 VNR and in a CSO spotlight report.
Reporting back to young people and their coalitions
on the impact of their input is important for accountability and for incentivizing continued youth engagement in VNR processes.
Youth-led Regional Platforms
Strengthening youth-led regional platforms, such as the African Youth SDGs Summit
, present an opportunity to capture and support the work of young people in advancing the SDGs and their role in VNR processes.
Similarly, the European Youth Forum started mapping SDG-related activities of NYCs to create an overview of how youth organizations are engaging in 2030 implementation.
Data and Finance
between national statistical systems, youth organizations, CSOs, LRGs, IOs, and others provide another channel. Many SDG 16 indicators lack age-disaggregated data
, which risks not disclosing information on the 1.85 billion young people globally, one out of four of whom is affected by violence or armed conflict.
To this end, youth-driven data collection and perception-based studies should be recognized and incorporated into VNRs, as well as youth-inclusive governance indicators
covering, in particular, 16.6, 16.7 and 16.10.
Youth organizations, movements, networks, and initiatives should be provided with adequate and predictable financial resources
to advance their work as related to VNR engagement and SDG 16.
for more on youth-sensitive VNRs. See here
for more on how young people can get involved in their country’s VNR.