Youth Caucus Statement on CSD Draft Elements for Decision
Thank you Mr Chairman. Youth have a question for the commission: are we forgetting the ‘sustainable’ in Sustainable Development?
All governments, NGO’s and financial institutions should implement, through policies and funding, sustainable solutions instead of inefficient resource-consuming alternatives in order to reach the agreed targets on water, sanitation and human settlements.
Where access to basic services is mentioned we stress that affordability and the sustainability of the services is of paramount importance. Without affordability and sustainability, we won’t have achieved truly sustainable development.
The shift from a needs-based approach to a rights-based approach to water is essential and Youth call on all governments to support it. This should be extended to include human settlements and sanitation.
Governments and financial institutions should provide assistance to small- and medium-sized enterprises, such as grants and micro-finance, especially for women- and youth-led sustainable job creation and entrepreneurship initiatives. When encouraging private sector investment, we must have in place a strong regulatory framework to ensure that economic development is environmentally sustainable.
We need to be talking about specifics: rainwater harvesting, reusing of grey water, and closing the sanitation loop through composting toilets and the use of manure in place of unsustainable chemical fertilizers. Sustainable Development cannot be realised without the widespread adoption of these simple practices. We need to learn from and fully support Indigenous Peoples’ sustainable practices.
All stakeholders, especially users, need to be engaged in the assessment, planning, management, implementation, monitoring and follow-up of internationally agreed commitments through a transparent, accountable, participatory international process. Follow up to the CSD must remain within the U.N. system, with a particular role for UNESCO in this Decade on Education. The role of both formal and non-formal peer to peer education in achieving sustainable development should be emphasised.
Our last question for the commission is one that the youth asked three years ago in Johannesburg: Where are the commitments, where are the mechanisms, where are the time-frames? The draft text does not give us these answers; by the end of the negotiations we must have them, so that the goals we have set for ourselves can become realities around the world.