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Sudanese Activist Demands Youth Inclusion at UN Summit

Mayada Adil, Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, speaks at the opening session of the second Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York City on September 18, 2023, ahead of the 78th UN General Assembly.

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.

Addressing a hall full of heads of state and dignitaries at a United Nations anti-poverty summit in New York, Sudanese doctor and women's rights activist Mayada Adil said: "I do not see my tribe, the youth tribe."

"Half of the world's population is under 30. Yet we are excluded, sidelined from all decision-making spaces," Adil said. "We need young people in all our diversity to be seen, to be heard in the policy- and decision-making."

World leaders were meeting at the United Nations on Monday to push ahead with the so-called Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and combating climate change by 2030.

The 17 wide-ranging goals, which also include gender equality and access to health care, were adopted by U.N. member states in 2015, but according to a recent U.N. report, only 15% of them are on track to being met by the deadline.

"If you do not deliver on your commitments to keeping the global emission below 1.5 degrees... you are putting the lives and the future of our entire generation and those who will come after at risk," Adil said.

She urged the world's decision-makers to partner with the planet's youth to tackle its key challenges.