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Every Voice Counts: 17 Goals, 17 Voices

Young people from all parts of India tell us what the 17 Sustainable Development Goals mean to them and the world they want to see in 2030.

Story by UN India August 12th, 2017
With 356 million young people, India has the largest youth population in the world. They can be the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most determined generation to end injustice and inequality, and the last generation to be threatened by climate change.
This International Youth Day, we spoke to 17 young minds on what the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mean to them. Here is what they have to say:
“A basic income guarantee would ensure everyone has money to fulfill their necessary needs for food, shelter, health and clothing – putting an end to poverty.”

Archita Bharadwaj, 23, Assam

“I imagine a world where no one is left hungry and everyone enjoys the basic requirement of three meals a day.”

Tahreeen Chaudhary, 22, Assam

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“Regardless of our age, gender, socio-economic or ethnic background, good health is our most basic and essential asset. Everyone must have equal access to good quality health care, especially reducing the burden on the poor.”

Farhan Khan, 25, Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh

“Every child should be able to access good quality education. As the next generation, we must focus on strengthening our education system to ensure that every child can realise their full potential.”

Adil Zaman, 22, Bihar

“It is not just women but also men who get pressured to fit into narrow and rigid gender roles. We do not have to constantly keep proving our manliness by suppressing the opposite sex.”

Dipyanman, 23, New Delhi

“Men must refuse to fall prey to these expectations, they are a part of the solution to achieve gender equality, alongside women.”

Aprajita Srivastav, 22, Uttar Pradesh

“We need to find ways to end open defecation in India, by not just helping communities build toilets but also ensuring that they have access to clean and running water.”

Durdana Bhatt, 24, Jammu and Kashmir

“What is the point of generating power if we are damaging the environment for our current and future generations? We must end our reliance on carbon-based fuels and focus on producing renewable energy generated from natural resources. Households must take individual ownership and shift to naturally generated power.”

Archana Rao, 25, Delhi

“We need to start by changing our attitudes towards the role of women in the world of work. Women still earn lesser than men for doing the same job. Irrespective of gender, we should all be given equal pay for the same level of work.”

Chinmayaa Kalita, 23, Assam

“Across India, internet connections are patchy. If all of us have access to internet, knowledge and technology would be accessible to all regardless of location and background.”

Sumit Kumar, 19, New Delhi

“The rich have access to the best of education and are able to use the skills acquired to increase their income and standard of living; meanwhile the poor lack access to quality education and find it harder to grow. We must enhance the level of education of the poor to help them find quality jobs.”

Shafaque, 24, Jharkhand

“As cities in India continue to grow, improving traffic safety is important for ensuring that these growing urban centres become safe, equitable places to live for all."

Pankaj Singh, 25, New Delhi

“Our generation has the responsibility to ensure that we do not exhaust our natural resources, to ensure that future generations also have access to it. For instance, we must reduce the waste we generate by recycling and reusing.”

Nisha Pandey, 22, New Delhi

“Climate change is changing the world’s weather patterns, leading to more drought and shorter rainy seasons. The responsibilities for climate change fall on each one of us — from individual choices, to industries, to nations.”

Syed Hiba, 20, New Delhi

“The way we look at improving the lives of people on land, we must also take responsibility for the world that exists below water. Especially, when human life depends on the ocean as much as the land for sustenance and livelihoods.”

Aarthi, 21, New Delhi

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“Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation and desertification! We pledge to give back to the earth what we take. During its lifetime a tree can absorb tons of carbon dioxide. So, let us all plant a tree, let us take care of trees, and let us save trees, which are a source of life.”

Komal Jaiswal, 22, New Delhi

“People must be able to contribute to decisions that affect their lives. Young people must be included in the discussion around peace and justice.”

Junaid Ahmed, 24, Kashmir

“None of us can guarantee how things will unfold, but one thing is for certain: unless countries and people come together irrespective of ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disabilities - we will not be able to secure the future of our generations to come.”

Sonam Goswami, 19, New Delhi