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70 years on, looking to the next 15

So it has been 70 years that the United Nations has been operational in the world and this year not only marks the UN’s 70th anniversary, but also marks a new chapter in the development agenda: the launching of the Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals will guide development for the next 15 years.

“There’s Kosovo DNA in those goals.” - Andrew Russell, UN Development Coordinator “There’s Kosovo DNA in those goals.” – Andrew Russell, UN Development Coordinator

On Saturday, 24 October, UN agencies, ambassadors, ministers, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, members of the Parliament, other representatives of local and international institutions, the newly appointed Special Representative to the Secretary General, civil society organisations, and others joined together to celebrate the launching of these new goals in Pristina this past Saturday.

These 17 Global Goals emerged through intense discussions between several layers of society across the world including in Kosovo on what people wanted to see as the direction for development in the post-2015 era. The consultations were just what this agenda strives for a way to understand what people need and how this can be achieved. These messages were also passed to local institutions for planning purposes and to integrate these voices with the other 1,7 million people’s voices from around the world.

So for such a small territory like Kosovo, why are these goals such a big deal? With a population of less than 2 million, Kosovo is often lost in global discussions around development priorities. Kosovo’s active, youthful population didn’t let that happen this time with over 9000 Kosovans having actively participated in the post-2015 debate around setting the development priorities for the coming 15 years.

During the post 2015 consultations Kosovo youth were asked to share their ideas about how to solve some of Kosovo’s most important development issues
During the post 2015 consultations Kosovo youth were asked to share their ideas about how to solve some of Kosovo’s most important development issues

For Kosovo, however, these 17 goals reflect the participation of its youthful and engaged population who worked hard to get Kosovo’s priorities on the agenda. They also reflect more targeted goals where countries can work more concretely towards those that most affect them. With a poverty rate of 29.7%, Goal #1 – No Povertyremains one of the core priorities for Kosovo. Unemployment rates in Kosovo (35.1%) and youth unemployment rates in particular (60.2%) affect the lives of Kosovans perhaps more than any other goal making #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth one of the main goals for Kosovo. Though progress has been made in areas of #5 Gender Equality and #10 Reduced Inequalitiesprogress is slow and many of Kosovo’s ethnic minorities, women, people with disabilities,

Speaking at Saturday’s event, Prime Ministers Mustafa stressed that Kosovo has made major strides in the areas of economic viability and sustainability, as well as in rule of law, health, and education. Goal #16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions is therefore also at the forefront of Kosovo’s immediate efforts on these goals. The Prime Minister also emphasized that “for us, the development objectives are very important, because we have tied the fate of Kosovo with faster economic development and social development.”

Though all goals have had some level of progress in Kosovo, some goals, such as clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption, protect the planet, life below water, life on land, and other environment-related goals are still lagging behind in Kosovo’s success stories.

Andrew Russell, suggested:“Choose your favourite goal or several goals and work towards it. My goal is gender equality.”

What’s your goal?

Respond with your goal, why it’s important, what you’re doing about it, and/or what you think we should be doing about it.

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