Future Generations: 2020 is a pivotal year for our common future.

“We need to get rid of this sense of divide because we need to collaborate on all levels, we need to understand both sides of the story.” — Milati Wisjen

It is within this context that I feel compelled to elevate the voices of South Australian young people with the launch of their 2030 SDG Action Plan, devised in collaboration with UN Youth SA.

“The government needs to consider our future, they need to start making positive impacts on the environment, because at this rate, our job in the future will be to live with the impact that past generations have left on our Earth. The government needs to adress (address) things such as climate change and realise this isnt science fiction, its real life & if we don’t do anything about it soon, it will be too late.” — (17 year old)

My obligation to children and young people is to work on issues and agendas that they identify today. But I have recently come to believe my obligations should extend to protecting the rights and interests of future generations of children.

Children and young people have told me that inclusion matters, diversity matters, trust matters, personalised experiences matter, and emotions matter. They tell me that what they want are kind, empathetic interpersonal relationships with government, business and the broader community. They want us to be future focussed and to value equity, to take into account the most vulnerable in our societies and work on integrated solutions that address problems simultaneously and comprehensively.

“If we are able to empower the young of SA then they will believe in themselves and create a snowball effect and make the world a better place.” — (15 year old)

Young people are calling on us to take a sharper focus to address the complex issues we face, through a lens that integrates economic, social and environmental solutions. They want respect for future generations by challenging ‘short termism’ and instead sharpen our thinking to ensure it considers the impact our decisions will have on future generations which can be achieved by us taking a non-political approach to policy making now.



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Helen Connolly

Helen Connolly

Helen Connolly is South Australia’s inaugural Commissioner for Children and Young People. She advocates for change at the systemic level to improve C&YPs lives.