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The Importance of the Intergenerational Dialogues on Sustainable Development Goals

By Ben D'Alessio

The Intergenerational Dialogues on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a crucial event for accomplishing the ambitious United Nations’ Agenda 2030. The event will be held on August 1, 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City and will be co-hosted by DPI and NGO/DPI Executive Committee.

The SDGs were created to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure human rights and prosperous and fulfilling lives for all by 2030. The SDGs are interconnected and mutually beneficial, therefore bringing together generations that, perhaps, do not communicate as often with each other as they do with themselves. Like the SDGs, human beings are interconnected and the dialogues hosted by DPI and NGO/DPI are a concentrated effort to bridge sustainable development understanding, and showcasing how it benefits all generations, genders, and races. When the passion for social change of the youth and the wisdom and experience of older people are combined, it creates a formidable catalyst for SDG implementation.

The youth (those considered under 31 by DPI) has been essential in promoting NGO awareness, accessibility, and effectiveness through multiple social media platforms. 592 NGOs report having an active website (almost all) with total monthly visitors equalling 41 million last year. Facebook remains the top medium for advocacy and awareness, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn. NGOs and civil society as a whole put pressure on the world’s governments, constantly attempting to steer their efforts in positive, sustainable, and peaceful directions, which is due in large part to the zealous advocacy of the world’s youth.

The dialogues themselves will be broken into six separate sessions conducted two times each, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The sessions will focus on the following topics:

  • Breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty,

  • Gender equality: opening the door to full inclusion,

  • Access to employment throughout life,

  • Sharing responsibility for the planet,

  • Intergenerational innovation, and

  • Healthy living (physical and mental wellness).

In a time when the younger generations are criticized for receding into their own echo-chambers it is inspiring to find those same generations spearheading cross-generational dialogues to promote sustainable policies and social change and equally inspiring to find older generations, many of whom could easily sit back and enjoy retirement, focusing their energy on leaving a world better than the one they adopted.

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