Youth as partners for the implementation of the SDGs

“The future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands. It lies also in the hands of today's younger generation who will pass the torch to future generations.”-  2030 Agenda, paragraph 53

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the international community’s ambitious response to today’s most pressing global development challenges. It will guide our development priorities for an entire generation. Young people played a key role in shaping this agenda and understand the stakes: they experience first-hand many of the issues it seeks to address.

Recent decades have witnessed significant advances in terms of human development, but deep challenges remain. Progress has been uneven, with many young people across the globe still experiencing interlocked forms of discrimination, limited political inclusion, high levels of poverty, and limited access to health systems, educational opportunities and decent jobs.

The goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda are interconnected, aiming to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Explicitly or implicitly, young people are deeply embedded within their fabric. Their knowledge, reach, and innovative solutions are essential if sustainable development is to be realized.



  • Today’s generation of adolescents and young people (between 10 and 24 years old) is close to 1.8 billion, more than at any other time in human history.
  • The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a total of 169 targets were adopted in 2015.
  • 65 out of the 169 SDG targets reference young people explicitly or implicitly, with a focus on empowerment, participation and/or well-being.
  • There are 20 youth-specific targets spread over six key SDGs: Goal 2 (hunger), Goal 4 (education), Goal 5 (gender equality), Goal 8 (decent work), Goal 10 (inequality) and Goal 13 (climate change).
  • Young people’s involvement is also key if the call for participation, inclusion, accountability and revitalized global engagement embedded in Goals 16 (peaceful, just and inclusive societies) and 17 (partnerships and implementation) is to be achieved