New York – Winter 2015

Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign at the United Nations Development Program, spoke on a panel titled, “Towards a Transformative Post-2015 Agenda.” The goal of the panel was to inspire intergovernmental post-2015 negotiations with concrete concepts, tools and campaigns for integration of resources (such as: finance, knowledge, workforce, social energy) of global citizens and local communities. Additional panelists included representatives from International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI), Junior Chamber International (JCI), UN Habitat, and UN Women.

Toomey event 2

Mr. Toomey spoke about the MY World survey and the importance of the data it aggregates. All of the data, which is available online in an open and interactive format, demonstrates what over 7 million members of civil society thinks are the most important issues the UN should address. According to Mr. Toomey, “The top votes show that the basic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are still unmet.” Currently, the top three most voted issues are: “A good education,” “Better healthcare,” and “Better job opportunities.”

One specific focus for the panel was how to get youth engaged in the completion of the current MDGs and goal-setting for future Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 2015 is a pivotal year in which the MDGs will be wrapped up and assessed and the SDGs will be established– but will the needs and values of all of civil society be heard? What about those who have little political, economic, or social power, such as children and youth?

Toomey event

Nearly 80% of respondents to the MY World survey are under the age of 30, with approximately three-quarters (75%) of those respondents ages 16-30. In addition, many of the volunteers who collected the nearly 6 million votes offline were young people. This outreach is extremely important for the localization of the goals in the next process. As Arrey Obenson, from JCI pointed out: “Successful projects involve communities & concentrate on solving local problems not replicating solutions.” At anyone can see the aggregated data to learn more about the world that youth want.

As Vivian Onano, a Kenyan Youth Advocate from UN Women who spoke on the panel, pointed out, “More than 50% of youth in Africa are illiterate.” While the MDGs have helped to increase enrollment in primary school to nine out of every ten children in the world, the MY World results suggest that access to quality education, including and beyond primary, remains a global priority– and a particular priority for children and youth. The MY World survey gives everyone a chance to have their voices heard during this pivotal time. Share the results with your representative on Twitter and talk with your family, friends, and colleagues about why this survey is so important!

Watch the recording of the session here:

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