UNESCO's SDG4Youth Network is tasked with leading and mobilizing youth and students to implement the Youth Declaration on Transforming Education. On Monday 20 March 2023, Network members held an online session as part of the Global Futures Forum. Here, we meet one of the session organizers Ilan Enverga, 30, from the Philippines.
Ilan Enverga is an educator. As a teacher, he sees the struggles young people go through and became more involved in building a better education system: “I have been an active member of the SDG4Youth Network since 2021 and have been a Focal Point for the Sustainability and Safe Education Working Group of the Network since its foundation.”
In September 2022, the Youth Declaration was launched at the Transforming Education Summit. This document states young people’s inputs to the Transforming Education Summit Chair Summary/Secretary-General’s Vision Statement. Its aim is to drive political commitment on the need to transform education and build young people’s ownership over this process. Ilan Enverga says: “To achieve the Youth Declaration, countries must invest in teacher training, digital learning, and inclusive education. They must also prioritize education for sustainable development by incorporating climate change education into school curricula and promoting sustainable practices.”
The ‘Championing the Youth Declaration on Transforming Education’ session was set to assess the current situation and to concretely address the next steps. Enverga explains: “We wanted to build a sense of appreciation and urgency towards achieving the calls of the Youth Declaration, as well as to share solutions and support with one another that would strategically dismantle the most common barriers of transforming education. During the session, we first explained the Youth Declaration's purpose, development and launch at Transforming Education Summit. We then focussed on the needs to address the challenges that were inhibiting the realization of the Youth Declaration's articles. This was a natural offshoot from the discussion at the most recent regional consultations on the Youth Declaration.“
Concrete ideas to implement the proposals of the Youth Declaration was presented by SDG4Youth Network members Amanda Bennet (Costa Rica), Omid Gholamzadeh Nasrabadi (Italy), Cynthia Nyongesa (Kenya), Veronica Pereira (Timor-Leste), Taranjeet Singh Manchanda (Canada), & Kenisha Arora (Canada). Many young leaders attended the session and shared ideas and concepts to promote the Youth Declaration, to amplify grassroots solutions, and to seek partnerships towards achieving the Declaration.
Enverga also shares that he is uplifted by the youth in the space of education activism: “I continue to be more and more impressed by the grassroots solutions created by youth in all corners of the globe. However, I have also learned that, everywhere, there is a huge lack of support, recognition, and funding for these solutions that are needed to amplify the impact of these solutions, and ultimately achieve SDG4. More momentum is needed moving forward to push forward youth-led programs and raise youth voices in national decision-making.”
As Ilan Enverga highlights: “The next steps for the Youth Declaration require inter-generational and international solidarity; therefore, awareness and agency need to be developed amongst all partners of the movement for SDG4. The next steps also include an emphasis on the monitoring of national commitments which requires a powerful structure that upholds accountability.”