Date of Meeting: 03 Nov 2016

Meeting Organizer: UN Department for Public Information (DPI NGO)

ISJC Staff Present: Major Victoria Edmonds, Joseph Halliday

Reporter: Joseph Halliday

Which SDG does this topic cover? 1, 4, 16

Type of meeting: Youth-led briefing from the UN DPI NGO

Brief summary of presentation of information made

Jeff Brez, Chief, NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events DPI:

Welcoming remarks; introduction of theme (‘1+4=16’) as referring to three SDGs (SDG 1, SDG 4 and SDG 16). The point being that targeting poverty (SDG1) and education (SDG 4) will lead to peace and strong institutions (SDG 16).

Sering Falu Njie, Deputy Director, SDG action campaign:

Speaker provided a brief history of SDGs. He distinguished them from MDGs by pointing out their wider scope; whereas the MDGs were aimed largely at the developing world, the SDGs provide recognition that all countries are developing to some extent. He states ‘principle of no-one left behind.’ He argues that government have the role of supporting this agenda through legislation, funding and prioritization in policy. NGOs, he believes, have the role of raising awareness of SDG issues. Speaker issues challenge to those in the room to support this aim. Advocacy is also important, and to this end there is a target of 0.1% of people being advocates in each country. Speaker remarks that education is key, providing a personal anecdote of different outcomes based on education: he and his male siblings received an education and now have high-earning jobs around the world, by contrast his sisters did not and still live in the same village as when they were children.

Frances Simpson Allen, Programme Management Office, Secretary-General Envoy on Youth:

Young people today have the benefit of technology and fast communication which can be used to raise awareness. ‘SDGs are old problems with new solutions.’ Speaker describes UN’s SDG Young Leaders programme, whereby young people are recruited in order to lead and focus on a particular SDG project or issue. Examples have included microfinance, nutrition and techonology. Additional benefit of developing young leadership.

Pilar Harris, NYU Student and Urban Practice Fellow:

Speaks on work with the incarcerated: Lyrics on Lockdown programme that works with young people on Rikers Island (a New York prison). Low reading level in most of prison population. Speaker’s group encourages young people to focus on the reasons for their jailing. She describes the ‘School To Prison Pipeline’ – there are problems in the education system which makes young people more likely to enter prison system. Her group makes use of a volunteer programme to support young people in prison – their main programme ‘visual and performing arts as tools for positive social change’ with the aim of getting prisoners to think critically about their situation whilst helping them to improve their reading and writing skills.

Austin Schiano, Give Me 5 Campaign:

Campaign calls for governments to pledge 0.5% of their GDPs towards achieving the SDGs. It does this through raising awareness and applying pressure to global leaders.

Umazi Mvurya, African Leadership Foundation:

Finds potential future leaders in African continent, supports their education (often in developed states), then places them in the most suitable location in Africa in order to accelerate growth. For instance, past successful projects have concerned wind energy and sanitation. Aim is to achieve a ‘ripple effect.’ ‘Not just about education, but quality of education also.’

Question and answer section:

Various questions taken from the floor; many prompting a discussion by the panel on the way in which many governments promote military spending over education spending. One member takes the view that the former is spending on war vs. the latter which is spending on peace.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

  • The Salvation Army, as a social services agency, should always recognize the value of a holistic approach: that in order to move society forward, the root causes of problems should be identified. In this briefing, for instance, we saw that institutions with problems often have roots in poor education and poverty.
  • Looking at other NGOs and non-profit organisations can offer some insight into good methods and practices for working alongside people rather than managing them too directly. For example, Lyrics on Lockdown uses the arts and encourages people to self-evaluate in order to learn from their situations; the African Leadership Foundation spots potential and allows it to develop.

Web links for more information

Tags: United Nations, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG1: No Poverty, SDG4: Quality Education