Being a paper delivered by
Dr (Mrs) C.U. Njoku, Rector Federal
Polytechnic Nekede at Golden anniversary
of Bible Society of Nigeria BSN held at
All Saints’ Cathedral, Egbu recently
Today we have come to listen to the topic mapped out for us by our leaders; tagged: Sustainable Development Goals: The Role of Youths. One basic thing about coming together in a form like this is, that at the end we all would adequately say I heard it, not told. Let me also add that when I address any topical issue as this, I would like everyone to become an active participant in the delivering process. I believe we shall all do that. I learnt that the conference will not focus on you only but for the young and old. In this regard each person will be taken care of to a large extent.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
It would be nice if we briefly state how we got to this. Let us recall that in 2000, World Leaders converged at the United Nations Headquarters in New York so that they would adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, create a partnership that would reduce poverty and setting out several targets to be reached 2015 and that was the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs).
Again, in 1992 World leaders came together in Rio, Brazil to adopt an Agenda for the 21st Century and they also signed a number of environmental agreements. 21 agenda was created through the engagement of certain key stakeholders, including young people in the United Nations negotiation for the first time. All the processes were not together but remained separated until the Rio 20 Conference in 2012 declared that the 2 processes should come together and after the MDGs in 2015 and named the Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainable Development as defined by Lasisi (2015) is a development which permits economic growth but at the same time demands the protection of the environment. United Nations (2002) in its own case defined Sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable Development Goals defined what the world wants, it is inclusive involving different arms, individuals, government and business.
From all these, you would see that Sustainable Development Goals recognized the young people and the role they could play at any given time especially in economic, social and environment. It also recognises that young people have the role of ensuring that peace reigns and there is adequate security at all levels. In doing this, this is to say that the old people should not only work for the attainment of the goals, but must ensure that the attainment of goals must bear in mind that needs and aspirations of the future generation must be met. The youth should be involved at the National and State levels in the areas of Planning, Implementation and Monitoring.
In this case, the youths will become critical thinkers, have powers to coordinate and mobilize others and have access to social media so as to become change agents to enable others share in their ideas. Furthermore, the youth would become very resourceful, understand their problems and be able to solve them without dislocating the system. In effect, they would now be equipped with the political and social skills needed for leadership positions and become functional leaders and be able to take up businesses as entrepreneurs.
THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
2. End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.
4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact (taking note of agreements made by the UNFCCC forum)
14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
For us to move on, it is better to talk briefly on where we are coming from then where we are going and where we want to be.
A BRIEF LOOK AT THE PAST
Years back, the youths had confidence in the old and in themselves, they had respect for elders and never subjected themselves to unhealthy rivalry nor created avenue to defile the land that will breach the peace of the place, cause insecurity or shame to the nation. They were mindful of whatever they had to do. Again they were taught certain values by the parents which they held high and how to handle certain issues concerning their developmental stages, relationship with their God and other things that would preserve their virginity. The God parents walked hand in hand with their biological parents to ensure that the youth were given proper upbringing. The community at the same time was not left out as they were ready to expose all those who may want to defile the land. In effect, the youth had the fear of God in them. They went to farm with parents and their age mates in turn and there was dignity in labour. They secure the villages from infiltrators and protected their girls. Abortion was unheard of because it defiled the land.
THE SITUATION TODAY
As a result of so many changes as well as challenges in the society, the youth have jettisoned a high percentage of their morality and our value system. They have engaged in so many acts that are no longer healthy. I can recall that in those days, virginity was celebrated and men who discovered that their wives were virgins adored them. The youth now travel to different places far and near without the consent of parents. They bring people home, especially those of opposite sex without the consent of parents. The bible says “Honour thy father and thy mother so that your days may be long”
Today, they have little regard for parents, get into the following
Dumping of babies, causal sex, drugs, breast implant, dirty wears, rape, kidnapping, gay marriages, frequent visit to eateries, unequal love for Internet (pornography, love chats, hacking, dating, engraving, having babies and selling them, masturbation, cohabiting etc. and damming the consequences.