On June 14, 2010, Emmanuel Eduzie of Youth Empowerment Synergy, one of YCI’s partner organizations in Ghana, presented to the United Nations in New York during the thematic session on “Building a Better Tomorrow: Local Actions, National Strategies and Global Structures.” Below is a copy of the statement Emmanuel presented to the UN:
Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity!
During the first decade of implementing the MDGs, development partners including UN agencies, the bilaterals, national governments and civil society organisations have regarded youth as targets for development programming. However, as the world enters the ‘last lap’ of the 2015 deadline, it is imperative to pay more attention to the role of youth as actors in the struggle to achieve the MDGs.
To be achieved, the MDGs must reflect local realities, engage people and be locally owned. This is in recognition of the fact that, unless the MDGs are understood and adapted to local, sub-national realities combined with capacity development for strategic planning, implementation and monitoring, it will be impossible to make any meaningful progress towards success in 2015.
This localization agenda will help in combating poverty and social exclusion, enable full participation and open space for social mobilization, and develop a greater capacity for citizen’s monitoring of progress. The focus on the local level combined with appropriate linkages to national poverty reduction strategies will bridge disparities, socio-economic, gender and ethnic inequalities and thus fosters more rapid, equitable and sustainable development.
In this context, young people form a significant cohort at the local level, both as targets of and actors in the localisation process. Any serious policy for social, political and economic development must therefore recognize the importance of young people, especially in promoting social progress, reducing political tension and maximizing economic performance.
The pace, depth and scope of localisation of the MDGs therefore depend on how well youth resources are nurtured, deployed and utilised in the process. The challenge for all stakeholders is to provide sufficient opportunities for young people to join in this localisation process, especially as it relates to monitoring and reporting at the grassroots.
Currently, YES Ghana is the most extensive non-governmental youth organization in Ghana, run by youth, for youth. YES and YCI have partnered to work on key programming areas throughout Ghana. These include a “Youth Employability” project, which enables Ghanaian young men and women successful earn a sustainable living through employability skills training, entrepreneurship and business creation, as well as an “Active Citizenship” project, which encourages young people to take leadership roles in their communities and ensure their voices are being heard.