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Young South Africans ask government for better access to tech, more transparency and renewable energy

Young South Africans ask government for better access to tech, more transparency and renewable energy

Kids today, huh? Who knows what they want? Well, we do actually, but only because we’ve been reading through the Recommendations for the Sustainable Development Goals drawn up by at third annual South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) Young Leaders Conference recently.

The group deliberated the UN’s proposed Sustainable Development Goals(SDG), and drafted a number of topics and aspects they would like the government to focus on as part of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The document has a very formal structure and talks about education, the eradication of poverty, the impacts of climate change and unemployment. They also touch on open data themes and increasing access to technology, and even express caution regarding current plans to build nuclear reactors and urge investment in renewable energy.

The 2014 SAIIA Young Leaders Declaration was submitted to representatives of the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the Department of Basic Education, and the United Nations.

In Article 2 (Education), they urge the government to “Promote the integration of technology in delivering the curriculum for a more beneficial and personalised learning experience; Demands high quality, sustainable facilities to reach equal and improved education standards.”

Under the heading Communication, the youth explained that technology can have an enormous impact in the dissemination of information in an increasingly interconnected world.

Furthermore, we call upon the South African government to:
1. Improve public access to digital information regarding national and international environmental policies and laws, so that the public are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

2. Increase the exchange in information between Government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the private sector and community based organisations in order to increase awareness in environmental issues

The participants of the Young Leaders Conference also noted that they recognise the plans made by government to invest in nuclear power.

Furthermore, we call upon the South African government to:
1. Encourage improved management of industrial processes to utilise more energy efficient methods of production.
2. Increase funding into research surrounding alternative, renewable, sustainable energy sources to ensure their future development and integration in conjunction with nuclear power.
3. Bear in mind the importance of ensuring the safe, efficient disposal of nuclear waste to avoid environmental degradation.
4. Increase transparency between Eskom and the public regarding our energy crisis so that more solutions can be generated.

“We pledge to continue to engage with local policy-makers on pertinent issues affecting children and youth such as unemployment, poverty, inequality, as well as the lack of resources in disadvantaged communities,” the young delegates said in a statement.

Source: HTXT