Three YSAFE Steering Committee members (Simon Herteer, Juraj Tomasik and Nejra Gadzo) attended a Youth workshop “Young People for SDGs, SDGs for young people” in Sofia, Bulgaria from 4th to 6th Dec 2017. The event was jointly organized by the Bulgarian National Center of Public Health and Analyses, the International Institute for Youth Development PETRI-Sofia and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (EECARO). The key objectives of this meeting were to review progress and identify priorities in advancing the youth agenda of the ICPD and 2030 Agenda, and to discuss synergies between the ICPD Beyond 2014 regional review outcomes and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The first sessions provided participants with a brief overview of the International Conference on Population and Development and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development – Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This way, each of the participants had a picture in their mind of what SDGs are, how they were created as well as why they are so important. We were happy that a particular accent was put on youth.
A creative sessions called “Identifying young people´s needs and challenges in selected thematic areas in the ECA region” helped us all make our voices heard, and every single participant, no matter of their background, made valid points from their perspective on the challenges and needs of the youth in relation to five thematic areas: Health, Education, Gender, Employment, and Civic Engagement.
An official from UNFPA EECARO delivered an interesting presentation on “The use and abuse of statistics”, in which the importance of indicators within statistics and the risks of segregation of data in reporting were highlighted. Participants certainly made use of this session because later on, participants needed to spot gaps in current indicators on SDGs and formulize proper – SMART indicators. As participants noted, there was quite a substantial lack of (not only) youth-related indicators especially in the fields of Gender and Health, and, throughout the process successfully managed to come up with quite strong and specific indicators to be considered as new SDG indicators in the upcoming review process.
Another success of young people present at the meeting was the election of a youth delegate that would be an active participant in upcoming review of SDGs indicators to represent needs, challenges as well as opinions and attitudes of young people from our region. The elected person was Uliana Avtonomova from Ukraine who will be following-up on this review process over the next months.
For us, YSAFE delegates, this meeting meant an incentive to further work with the SDGs framework and the importance of SRHR in sustainable development. We believe we started great working relations with other organizations and reinforced work with our current partners. We were happy to have got the chance to become meaningful young participants of the meeting, working side to side with officials from various organizations including a few institutions from the United Nations, and showing everybody that YSAFE is a network of young experts that they would most certainly hear of in the future.