A group of Youth and Child focused civil society organisations came together to draft a ‘Youth Response’ to the UN High Level Panel Report, released ahead of schedule on 30th May 2013. This refers back to the set of recommendations from the youth sector that were sent to the High Level Panel in early May, and the extent to which these have been taken up in the report.
The youth response is generally positive and welcomes the direction set by the Panel for the Post-2015 Development agenda. There is particular appreciation of the fact that young people have been identified as a ‘cross-cutting issue’ whose well-being must be addressed across all 12 suggested goals. But there is also concern that child agency has not been given a similarly central focus.
Like many other responses from civil society groups, the youth response questions how exactly social and income inequalities are going to be sufficiently addressed without a specific goal dedicated to closing the gaps within and across societies. There are also concerns around the concept of global partnership that is laid out in the report; MDG 8 ‘Global Partnership for Development’ has been notoriously left to fall by the wayside whilst progress is made on all other goal areas. It is hard to see how this new proposed commitment to global partnership will go above and beyond the half-hearted attempts at implementing MDG 8, if there is still no mechanism for monitoring the quality or implementation of these partnerships.
Above all, the youth response calls for more clarity on how many of the concepts laid out in the strong report narrative will actually be implemented. The report repeatedly refers to ‘accountability’ but there is limited information on how exactly citizens and civil society groups will be able to engage in monitoring the new framework and most importantly how they will be able to hold their governments to account for its implementation.