International Youth Day

Youth activists demand urgent action to avoid ‘decades of disaster’ for people and planet

To mark International Youth Day, Monday 12th August, more than 70 activists from 30 countries have written an open letter to world leaders, calling for urgent action to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals in order to avoid ‘decades of disaster’ for people and planet. 

Signatories to the letter include prominent activists such as campaigner and founder of the Five Foundation Nimco Ali, Indian feminist Trisha Shetty, Amika George, founder of the #FreePeriods campaign and South African disability rights advocate Eddie Ndopu. The letter has been coordinated by youth led agency Restless Development.

The letter has also received the backing of major international organisations such as the ONE campaign, Global Citizen and Restless Development and global leaders including the Chair of the Elders, Mary Robinson and Edna Ismail Aden, Former Foreign Minister of Somaliland and Founder of the Edna Adan University and Hospital.


With 10 years left to deliver the Global Goals for Sustainable Development - agreed to by every nation in 2015- campaigners have urged leaders to set out a clear ‘2020 Vision’ by backing young people and listening to the solutions they offer. The letter makes three key demands focused on investment, accountability and solidarity between global campaigners on different issues.

The letter comes at a critical moment ahead of the upcoming G7 Summit in Biarritz and the United Nations General Assembly in September, where leaders will meet to discuss the world’s most pressing issues including at the SDG summit, the first since the Global Goals were agreed in 2015.

Others are asked to add their names to the letter by sharing the letter on social media and tagging @RestlessDev

You can read the full text of the letter below:

 Dear World Leaders

We are writing on International Youth Day to demand a more urgent “2020 Vision” from you, by offering it up ourselves.

The global population of young people is rising and so are the issues we face together. In the next decade, the World Bank estimates 600 million young people entering the job market will not find jobs; and climate change will continue to adversely affect developing countries, where 90% of young people live.  This is an emergency for people and planet.

If we do not together ensure a Decade of Delivery for the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, from 2020 to 2030, we will together live with decades of disastrous consequences into the 21st century.

We stand ready to help partner and fix these failures, but young people’s voices and priorities are often side-lined and their solutions ignored. Please hear us now as we make these demands:

  1. Young people are our present and our future, and this future needs investment - a basic level of financing for our health, education, empowerment and resilience in the face of climate change. Experts estimate this investment costs a minimum of $300 per person per year in the lowest income countries.
  2. To translate Global Goals to local results we need to be able to have the freedom and space and voice to freely track these funds, to “follow the money” - through open budgets and open contracts through to collecting data on outcomes -  to ensure it gets where it is needed and is delivering real local results.
  3. We call on campaigners and concerned citizens around the world - environmental justice, social justice, gender justice, inequality and anti-corruption activists - to unite and together demand a course correction for people and planet.

Young people are organising for impact when leaders meet at their big global gatherings this year and next. Together we must demonstrate a dramatic course correction. Leaders must hear us and, in partnership, act with us.

Full Signatories List

Adelle Onyango, Founder Of Adelle Onyango Initiative

Adenike Bamigbade, Programme Associate, Step Up for Social Development and Empowerment in Nigeria

Akpem Terese Shadrach, Founder of Youths With a Future Initiative

Alex Causton-Ronaldson, Youth Stop Aids Campaigner

Alex Holmes, Diana Award and Queens Young Leader

Amika George, Founder of #FreePeriods

Aniekan Ekpenyong, Director for Africa, Global Health Focus

Arrey Obenson, JCI Secretary General

Benedicta Dawson-Amoah, Youth Think Tank

Blessing Omakwu-Soremekun, Founder, The She Tank

Boboye Adeniji Oluwafemi, Project Lead, Youth Be Inspired Initiative

Carla Home, Youth Stop Aids Campaigner

Carlos Sanvee, Secretary General, World Alliance of YMCAs

Chaimae Bourjij, Founder of Youth SDG Action Project and Winner of the ‘Mobilizer Award’ by UN SDG Action Campaign (2018)

Christian Vanizette, Co-founder, Make Sense

Cuthbert Mukora, Head of Programmes, Rural Enterprise Trust of Zimbabwe ( (Goalkeeper Youth Action Accelerator)

Damilare Oyedele, Cofounder, Library Aid Africa

Dannika Calyon, Youth Activist

Danyal Hayat, Head of International Department – Cecos University Peshawar

Dominic Cowell, Youth Stop Aids Campaigner

Dr Edna Adan Ismail, Founder, Edna Adnan University and Hospital

Dr. Joannie Marlene BEWA, Physician & Public Health Specialist, Founder of Young Beninese Leaders Association (YBLA), and United Nations Young Leader for the SDGs

Dumisani Kaliati, Founder and CEO, MicroMek Ltd (Goalkeeper Youth Action Accelerator)

Dzikunu, Richard Mawutor, Youth Power Global Leader, Winner of 2018 United Nations Action Campaign Awards

Edward (Eddie) Ndopu, Member of the UN Secretary-General's Advocacy Group for the SDGs

Emmanuel Ametepy, Convenor, African Youth SDGs Summit, and UNDP 16x16 Global Youth Leader

Fabienne Rafidiharinirina, Founder, Madagascar Initiatives for Digital Innovation (Goalkeeper Youth Action Accelerator)

Fatuma Likwawite, Youth Accountability Advocate

Fouzy Mathey, Cofounder, YES For Humanity

Georgie Wallis, Youth Stop Aids Campaigner

Global Citizen

Hammed Kayode Alabi, Executive Director, Kayode Alabi Leadership and Career Initiative (KLCI)

Hamzat Lawal, Follow The Money via Connected Development [CODE]

Hercules Jim, Consultative Implementation and Monitoring and Council

Ilwad Ali, Director of Programs & Development for the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre

Inota Cheta, Youth Power Global Leader and  Director SHE Entrepreneur

Isaac Ezirim, Founder, Teens Can Code

Jevanic Henry, YCCA

Jonathan Harper FRSA, Chief Executive Officer, Future Foundations

Joshua Alade, Project Coordinator, Nigerian Youth SDGs Network

Juan Carlos Monterrey, Director, The Center for Climate Resilient Development & Technology (Climate Resilient)

Judith Kitinga, Youth Accountability Advocate

Kennedy Odede, President & CEO, Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO)

Kisirisa Muhammed, AFFCAD

Laura Ulloa, Peace activist and writer

Lewis Wilkinson, Youth Stop Aids Campaigner

Marlou Cornelissen, CEO, World Merit

Marwa, UN Women Gender Agora

Mary Robinson, Chair of the Elders

Memory Banda, Let Girls Lead and the Girl Empowerment Network of Malawi

Molly Pugh-Jones, Youth Stop Aids Campaigner

Moneera Yassien, AMNA Organisation

Nadege S. Uwamahoro, Youth Stop Aids Campaigner

Napoleón García, Youth Director, Nuestro Tiempo and Censura Cero

Ndagire Moreen Maria, Student

Nikhil Taneja, Co-founder and CEO of Yuvaa

Nimco Ali, Co-founder and CEO of The Five Foundation

Nishchhal Kharal, CEO, Idea Ghar

Okore Scheaffer, Vice-chairperson of Ukweli party

Perry Maddox, CEO, Restless Development

Preeti Singh, Youth Accountability Advocate

Primrose Manyalo, Restless Development Youth Power Coordinator

Priscilla Nyaaba Ag. Executive Director, Youth Harvest Foundation (Goalkeeper Youth Action Accelerator)

Purity Kagwiria, Feminist and Girls Rights champion,  Executive Director @ Akili Dada

Rahim Abas Kiobya, CEO and Founder, Geospatial Tanzania LTD (Goalkeeper Youth Action Accelerator)

Rosie Oakley, Youth Stop Aids Campaigner

Rwendeire Peniel, Chairman of the Board, Network for Active Citizens

Saffran Mihnar, Youth Power Global Leader and Director for Development and Communication, Earth Lanka

Scarlett Curtis, Activist, writer, journalist, and blogger

Semiye Michael, Founder: DEAN Initiative

Sobel Aziz Ngom, E.D at Social Change Factory

Board Member at Generation Unlimited

Sulaima Ramadan, IMPACT

The ONE Campaign

Thobias Komba, Youth Accountability Advocate

Trisha Shetty, Founder, SheSays India 

UnJaded Jade, Vlogger and Restless Development volunteer

Vibhu Sharma, Global Board Member at Generation Unlimited

Victoria Ibiwoye, Youth Power Global Leader and Director, OneAfricanChild

WAGGGS, World Association of Girl Guides and Scouts

Yvonne Ochieng, Nzumari Africa