I was overwhelmed by an article shared on Atlas Corps’ Face Book page few days ago, written by Nicole Goldin a professor lecturer at George Washington University in the United States. The article came under the title (Youth in the SDGs: Getting Beyond the Rhetoric). She was drawing the attention of the World Leaders ahead of the UN General Assembly in September this year towards the role of young people in the global framework of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She focused on what the leaders could do to include youth in this framework and look beyond the year 2015.
As part of the goals; good education, better healthcare and job opportunities for young people should be include as priorities in their agenda. But I don’t know how much have been achieved in the previous Millennium Development Goals which was initiated since 2000 targeting 2015 as period to achieve the eight Millennium goals.
I reflected on the article and the message that Professor Nicole wanted to put across, I was trying to figure out the impact of the MDGs on South Sudan population. Looking at the current situation in the Country, I don’t see any impact on the success of the goals in the community of South Sudan. Since the Country’s violence broke out in December 2013, we hear a lot of controversial reports from different Humanitarian organizations operating in South Sudan about health situation, expectations of famine and the huge illiterate percentage that is categorized by UNESCO AS 80%. On February 6th, 2015 aid agencies reported on OCHA official website that more than 4.1 million people in South Sudan will be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance as health, food and shelter is concern. The figure confirms that more than half of the population of South Sudan is hungry and are in need of help of food and other aid assistance.
Youth are the majority of the population in South Sudan and that is according to the last result of the census that was conducted in 2008. After the independence on July 9th, 2011, many young people across the globe return home especially from Sudan, Kenya and Uganda and many other neighboring countries. Many came with high expectations that they would come and get job opportunities and participate in the development of the country. Currently, our South Sudanese are facing a lot of challenges including the 15 old conflicts that erupted on December 15, 2013 between the president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his former vice president Riek Macher. Many South Sudanese youth have lost their lives from both sides either they are killed as civilians or as soldiers.
The World Health Organization and other health partners are still reporting on South Sudan as the worse country which is still having a high rate of the maternal mortality. Kids are still dying due to malnutrition, Marlaria, fever, and domestic diseases. So where is the MDGs? South Sudan is still witnessing a lot of horrible things ever wherever we share with our colleagues they don’t believe.
I wanted to draw attention of the UN general assembly, that, as they are preparing to gathered in September and discuss issues concerning the welfare of all nations they should keep South Sudan in mind and plan whatever necessary to help this youngest nation comes out of its zone.