12th meeting - 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (2018 HLPF)


Thank you for giving us the floor. My name is Nele from Vlaamse Jeugdraad, speaking on behalf of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth.

This year, August 1st is Earth Overshoot Day. 20 days from now, we will have consumed more ecological resources and services in 7 months than the planet is able to regenerate in a year. This is an environmental catastrophe and the anthropocene is impeding sustainable development.


Our excessive consumer culture, paired with business models of planned obsolescence, blind us from systematically recognizing the consequences of overconsumption and leads to prioritizing profit over people and planet.


Transformative pathways towards sustainable development can only be attained through paradigm shifts. We urge member states to:

Firstly, shift away from economic models that are obsessed with growth, toward those that respect planetary boundaries, that recognize the economy as a subset of the society and environment, and that support the concept of living in harmony with nature; natural resources have an intrinsic value that cannot be replaced once they are gone.

Second, move from a linear model to a circular economy where we buy services and not products; this should be coupled with assessments of ecological footprints and social impact of products across their lifecycle.

Third, adopt alternative measures of progress beyond GDP to redefine prosperity to integrate values of human rights, health and wellbeing and those of Mother Earth; this will open up viable paths towards steady-state economies and planned degrowth.

Fourth, promote equity and fairness in the distribution of burden from historic and present unsustainable consumption and production by further investing in technology and knowledge transfer mechanisms, as well as enhancing statistical capacities.

Lastly, reduce distortions in information, as well as embed principles of SCP in education for sustainable development and provide evidence-informed advice to promote behavior shifts towards more sustainable livelihoods.


We affirm our support for the rights of nature and Mother Earth. Our fate is at stake. Thank you.

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