We live at a time where the challenges the world faces are so great and our politics seems so divisive.
As young people, it can often feel as though our voices are not heard, that the people in power do not represent our views, and that we are powerless to make the change we want to see.
Yet, we are also the largest, most connected and technologically advanced generation ever.
That is why it is up to our generation to ask: what is our vision for the world we want to create?
Because if we are to have the future we want, we must start by creating a vision behind which we can unite.
I do not profess that in seeking a vision we will reach complete consensus, as many will have differing views for justifiable reasons.
However, the danger of our time is that we take this to mean that there are no guiding principles that most of us believe are worthy of pursuit. If that were the case, we would merely continue down our current path in the vain hope that we would arrive at the future we would wish.
Because it is in the very nature of time that it shall pass whether we are in pursuit of great feats of human endeavour, languish in ceaseless squalor, or place all in the hands of chance.
Yet, at a time such as this, I believe there is a vision which most of us can agree is worth pursuing and behind which we can unite to create the world we want to build.
It is a world
Where we have ended poverty,
Where nobody goes to bed hungry,
Where everybody leads a healthy life,
Where every child gets a good education,
Where there is equal pay for equal work,
Where there is clean water for all,
Where energy is clean and affordable,
Where the economy meets the needs of the people,
Where industry promotes inclusion and innovation,
Where a person’s destiny is not determined by their birth,
Where we build our communities for beauty, the future and sustainability,
Where we produce and consume responsibly,
Where we address the threat of climate change once and for all,
Where our oceans are filled with fish and not plastic,
Where we save the species we have endangered,
Where we have peace not just in our time, but for all time,
Where we come together to make this vision a reality.
It is right
I challenge anyone to deny that such a world is desirable.
Yet, there will be many who will say that such a world is not possible.
To believe that to be true is to help make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What those who will decry this endeavour will claim is that its improbability — not its righteousness — makes this attempt not worthwhile.
But it is the virtue of this vision that makes this challenge worthy of pursuit. Because this is a vision built on the foundations of justice — that common cause that has fuelled the fights for the most basic rights which we now take for granted.
It was the fight for what people believed to be right that gave nations their independence from mighty empires, provided even more with equality before the law, and has already lifted millions from the scourge of poverty.
It is by building on such noble foundations that societies have been elevated above the injustices which they had previously been willing to accept.
For it has been the aspirations of a few which propelled the movement of the many, until what seemed out of reach, became an inevitability.
It is possible
It is possible, because this is not a vision formulated in the mind of one person. It is a vision agreed to by 193 countries across the world.
These are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2015, world leaders from 193 countries agreed to these 17 Global Goals that would build a better future for everyone.
These are the goals for our generation to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change in our time.
But they can only be made a reality if we all help to achieve them. Yet, the United Nations and the Global Goals can seem irrelevant and inaccessible to young people.
United For 2030
That is why we have created United For 2030.
United For 2030 aims to make the Global Goals relevant and accessible to all young people by harnessing the power of technology to provide a simple way for people across the world to help achieve them.
Developed by and for young people, United For 2030 brings young people together to represent their nations. They collaborate online to develop projects to address challenges their nations and the world faces.
We are beginning by selecting 100 young leaders from 20 countries across the world:
Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Haiti, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uruguay, USA, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Yemen.
The five representatives from each of these nations will work together as part of a 12 month online programme. They will collaborate to create a project to address challenges their nation faces. They will tell the world about the impact their project has made at the United For 2030 Summit.
United For 2030 gives a new generation the power to achieve the Global Goals.
It will not be easy
To say that achieving such a vision is possible, is not to say it will be easy. If it were, it would have already been done.
But, as John F. Kennedy said when he set the sights of a nation on reaching the moon, we do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
It is for our generation to set out to achieve this vision. For this is our opportunity to make the most of our moment in history. To build on the foundations laid in the past in the pursuit of justice in the present, to lay the way for a future which we now create.
It must be done
We are the first generation that can end extreme poverty and the last that can address climate change.
For too long we have been told we are too young, that we do not have the experience, or that we simply do not care.
Now is our moment.
We must take our destiny into our own hands.
We must represent ourselves to make our vision a reality.
Let’s show the world that we are the generation that unites to achieve the Global Goals.
About United For 2030
Be a part of United For 2030! Applications are now open for young people aged between 18–35 to take part in United For 2030. Successful applicants take part in a 12 month programme where they collaborate to develop a project to address a challenge in their nation that helps achieve the Global Goals.
You can find all the details here.