As we draw closer to September 2015, when nations are expected to adopt the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, I am reflecting on what that means for me and probably for my fellow young people.
There are about 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); from ending poverty to combating climate change, etc. As I reflect on issues that are affecting me as a young person (whom I consider a youth…no judging), I realize that we cannot have post-2015 development agenda without these four critical aspects: Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Ending Child Marriage, Access to Employment, and Having a place at the Decision-making Table.
For me, top on this list is access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). When the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were created in 2000, they completely overlooked SRHR, which I think was a mistake that, if repeated, dreams of many young people, especially young girls and women, will continue to be crippled.
As rightly put by Elisabeth, Epstein (Girls’ Globe), ‘the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals will not happen without SRHR being addressed. So far, the world has failed to recognize that SRHR are equally as fundamental to global development as finance and trade. We can no longer afford to view SRHR as a taboo or promiscuous topic. When 90% of first births in low-income countries are to girls under 18; when the leading cause of death among adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 is pregnancy and childbirth; when two-thirds of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa are among adolescent girls; and when 200 million women want to use family planning methods but lack access, the young girls and women of the world do not have a promiscuity problem – they have a human rights problem‘.
Below is a graphic illustration of all the four issues I mentioned earlier that I personally feel matter to me and my fellow youth, plus their outcomes if taken into consideration: