The Nigerian Youth Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Symposium organized by the Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN) Youth, Nigeria took place on the 28th day of August 2018. The event which held at the Trenchard Hall University of Ibadan took place as a side event of the 9th annual Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit (ISDS).
This event was held as a first major event of SDSN Youth In Nigeria to introduce young individuals to the 17 sustainable Development Goals, the SDSN Youth in Nigeria and as well taking the lead in the promotion, advocacy as well as actions towards achieving the SDGs.
The symposium had about 200 young individuals in attendance who were all introduced to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (UN) through the theme, Agenda 2030; Youths in Advocacy, Solution and Actions towards Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The national Coordinator SDSN Youth Nigeria, Mr Mutiu Kolawole Ambali opened the floor for discussion by introducing the youths to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals with a touch on some of the targets. The SDSN an initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and her role to promote Sustainable Development was discussed in-depth as well. Participants were put through the responsibilities of the youth arm of the SDSN which includes; educating other young people about the SDGs as well as implementing the goals by creating platforms for them to connect, collaborate and integrate their ideas in solving challenges across regions, nations, and the world at large.
Furthermore, participants were encouraged to join the SDSN Youth Network in Nigeria through this symposium in order to foster unity in solving societal challenges locally. Notable organisations in Nigeria such as SustyVibes and Cleanedge Solutions had youth representatives in attendance who shared the story of their organizations, the progress they have made so far, and how their activities have targeted the implementation of the SDGs.
In his words, Professor Olabode Popoola, Director SDSN Nigeria, “Youths must be reoriented about productivity and education. This can only be achieved by keying into the SDGs in practical ways”. Other notable speakers at the event include, Professor Patrick Paul Walsh (Chair of International Development Studies, University College Dublin, Ireland), Professor Olanrewaju Olaniyan (Director, Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan), Dr Olawale Olaide (Sub-dean Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan), Mr Adesola Akinyosoye (HR Director, Nestle Nigeria), Mr Toyeeb Aremu (SustyVibes) and Tosin Gbadegeshin (CleanEdge Solutions). They all encouraged youths to think globally and act locally.
Towards the end of the event, the youths were encouraged to react to the discussion and many of them affirmed that through the symposium, they now have a good Knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals and how the SDSN is pivotal in implementing the goals in Nigeria. They were spurred to action as SDSN Youth Nigeria has so far witnessed a high number of young people interested in joining the network and as well advocate for the SDGs. Many youths have in recent weeks been able to identify societal challenges and proposed pragmatic solutions towards the challenges.
Finally, the youths were encouraged to ensure that their academic projects and researches are tailored towards one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mutiu Ambali is a young individual who is passionate about human development. He is the Youth Network Coordinator, SDSN Nigeria. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D in Sustainable Tourism Development with his focus in Economics of Tourism. For the past three years, he has been involving in projects relating to eradication of poverty and reducing inequalities in Nigeria specifically on Sustainable rural development.