You are here

"We hope that our voice will be heard today, because if not ours, then whose? If not now, then when?" – that's how my colleague Darya Shershun finished her speech at the conference at the UN headquarters in Geneva, which took place on October 1-2. The speech was intended to deliver an important message from the young people of the whole region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia on the "Sustainable Development Goals-2030" strategy.

I, Daria and Victoria, have been delighted to be the youth delegates from Ukraine at the 25th International Conference on Population and Development, where we represented our country as activists of the Teenergizer Youth Movement.

The scale of the conference is really impressive. We prepared the speech delivered by Darya jointly with the youth delegates from Macedonia, Kazakhstan and Finland, and in total, representatives from about 250 government agencies, including high-ranking officials, as well as members of national parliaments and other stakeholders, were involved.

“ For me ICPD+25 became an incredible opportunity to participate in taking socially meaningful decisions. That is, make the society informed about the problems of my peers and directly influence the solving of these issues. The knowledge obtained on the topics of sexual and reproductive health, inclusion and human rights, are a priority for me now, as I will use them in my work in Ukraine. In general, I am very happy to have attended such a large-scale event which gave me a lot of energy, inspiration and experience”, Viktoriya Severyn told about her impressions.

The purpose of the conference was not only to tell about the problems of the youth of our region, but also to offer ready-made solutions that can effectively improve the situation in the areas of employment, education, sexual and reproductive health, and safeguard our universal human rights, because young people's participation is critical in solving all issues that directly affect them.

In the context of Ukraine, these issues are particularly relevant. For example, according to recent U-Report polls, 81% of young people from 7,124 respondents object against the fact that their medical data are passed on to their parents without prior consent, while 32% consider it necessary to introduce a sexual education lesson at school. Today, young people see the need for changes in the health care system, namely improving access to health care services regardless of age, stigma prevention in educational institutions, creating special educational courses and improving the system for collecting statistics on adolescents and youth of different age groups. We, like nobody else, understand how important it is to focus on it right now rather than wait until the situation is solved on its own, therefore activists in Ukraine have already started to develop a strategy of further work with the Ministry of Health with the first discussion of the most important issues at the official meeting with MoH representatives. In addition, the United Nations Population Fund, which focuses on reproductive health and rights, is doing a great job. The dissemination of reliable and evidence-based information on family planning, modern contraceptives, and the rights of women and men to give birth to children when they want it to do, and have the number of children they want to have, are the basis for ensuring these rights.