One of the main emphasis of the SDGs is co-operation between different stakeholders, including youth, in implementing the goals. In view of this, and also considering that Articles 12 and 13 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly state the right of children to express their opinions and to influence issues of concern to them, a decision was taken to involve Icelandic youth through the Youth Council for the SDGs. This reflects the platform of the governing coalition, which emphasises implementing the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including those on increasing the influence of children in society.
The main aim of the Youth Council is to draw attention to the SDGs and sustainable development, both among young people and within the community as a whole. The Youth Council is intended to be a living forum where the SDGs and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are the overarching theme and are discussed critically and with a focus on resolution. In this way, young people are given a forum to draw attention to the SDGs and sustainable development, thus creating opportunities for the voices of their peers to be heard on these issues.
The Youth Council for the SDGs consists of twelve representatives from across the country, aged 13-18 years. The Youth Council meets six times a year, including one meeting with the government. The role of the Council is to learn about and discuss the SDGs, as well as to prepare and share interactive content on the goals and sustainable development on social media. The Youth Council is also to keep the government focused, through the inter-ministerial working group, and advise it on implementation of the goals.
Tinna Rós Steinsdóttir, a specialist in involving children and youth at UNICEF Iceland, will supervise the activities of the Council. The work of the Youth Council can be followed on its Facebook page and further details are available by contacting ungmennarad[at]barn.is.