Opinion Pieces Highlight Messages Of Lancet Commission On Adolescent Health And Wellbeing, Highlight Age Group’s Importance To Achieving SDGs

The Lancet: GBD 2013: a window into the world of young people
Shanthi Ameratunga and Simon Denny, both professors at the University of Auckland

“Between continuing threats to child survival in many low-income countries and increasing pressures of aging populations on health systems almost everywhere, the health needs of young people aged 10-24 years are all too readily bypassed. … [W]e can no longer — as scientists, health professionals, policymakers, or donor agencies — hide behind the pernicious veil of ignorance and inaction attributable to the ‘gaps and silences’ in available data. … Data alone do not impel political action or social change, but [there is a] resoundingly clear challenge for all nation states to address their duty of care. This involves attending to the so-called causes of the causes, the social conditions underlying the inequitably borne threats to health within countries. More particularly, the wide variations in disease and injury burden between countries demand a coordinated global strategy that focuses on young people’s health” (5/9).

The Lancet: Advancing the adolescent health agenda
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Failure to address the distinctive challenges that come with adolescence could not only jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far, it could also severely dent our chances of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to health, nutrition, education, gender equality, and food security. But as the [Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing] makes clear, if we do act, then we will see a triple dividend of benefits: for adolescents now, for them later as adults, and later still for their children. … Our foundation strongly supports the Lancet Commission’s call for a global accountability mechanism that can offer independent oversight of a comprehensive adolescent health agenda, with young people at the forefront. For too long adolescents have been the forgotten community of the health and development agenda. We cannot afford to neglect them any longer” (5/9).

The Lancet: Sustainability — engaging future generations now
Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the U.N.

“…To work effectively for and with adolescents, it is essential that we engage with stakeholders across the health, education, employment, governance, and other sectors. We must ensure that the marginalized have access to opportunities, end gender discrimination, and leverage technology for innovation. And we must do far more to prevent violations of the human rights of adolescents — especially girls. … If we can make a positive difference in the lives of 10-year-old girls and boys today, and expand their opportunities and capabilities over the next 15 years, we can ensure the success of the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. For me, the acronym ‘SDG’ also stands for ‘Sustainable Development Generation,’ and sustainability means engaging future generations today. The U.N. is strongly committed to working with all partners so that we can realize the full promise of the 2030 Agenda — and so that all adolescents can realize their full potential” (5/9).

The Lancet: Adolescent health and wellbeing: a key to a sustainable future
Sabine Kleinert, senior executive editor at The Lancet, and Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…The biggest opportunity during the next 15 years and beyond is to make adolescents the human face of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). … [I]n addition to being a target group, adolescents should be actively involved in working towards the SDGs at all levels — as agents for change at the community, national, and international levels. Adolescents and young people are our best chance to achieve radical change for a prosperous, healthy, and sustainable world. The adolescents of today will be the policymakers of 2030. … The opportunity to extend gains made in the early years into a cycle of life-course achievements has never been greater” (5/9).

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