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Sudanese activist demands youth inclusion at UN summit


A Sudanese activist on Monday blasted world leaders for excluding young people from key decisions affecting the future of the planet and urged them to step up the fight against climate change and poverty.

Speaking to a room full of heads of state and dignitaries at a United Nations anti-poverty summit in New York, Mayada Adil, a Sudanese doctor and women’s rights activist, said: “I don’t see my tribe, the tribe of young people”.

“Half of the world’s population is under 30 years old. Yet we are excluded, sidelined from all decision-making spaces,” Adil said. “We need young people, in all their diversity, to be seen and heard in political and decision-making processes.”

World leaders were meeting at the United Nations on Monday to advance the so-called Sustainable Development Goals aimed at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and tackling climate change by 2030.

The 17 wide-ranging goals, which also include gender equality and access to health care, were adopted by UN member states in 2015, but according to a recent UN report, only 15 % of them are on track to be achieved on time.

“If you fail to meet your commitments to keep global emissions below 1.5 degrees… you are endangering the lives and futures of our entire generation and those that follow,” Adil said.

She urged decision-makers around the world to partner with the world’s young people to tackle key challenges.