By: Adesuwa Ero, Intern, International Institute for Sustainable Development
“We cannot always build the future for our children, but we can build our children for the future” Franklin D. Roosevelt.” Clearly defining and addressing the issues that affect today’s youths is extremely crucial to building more inclusive cities and fostering sustainable development because they are a significant sect of the city’s population and leaders of tomorrow.
The Winnipeg Youth Vital signs developed by The Winnipeg Foundation is a tool designed specifically to serve as a platform for young Winnipeggers to share their experiences living in the city and their perspective on local issues. This report represents not only a quick snapshot of what young Winnipeggers are thinking. It is also a ^platform for meaningful youth engagement in decision making, whereby youth are guaranteed a seat at the table in shared decision making.
It points decision makers and change agents in the right direction of current and future public needs. More importantly, the recommendations in the report indicate how the young people want to be involved in the decision-making process of projects/policies that impact them. This report could therefore serve as a best practice mechanism in communicating the needs of the young generation and ideas for future development, given that many Canadian cities such as Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton have adopted the Vital Signs as a means of promoting community engagement and also a model now being used for strategic planning by cities around the world, as stated in the Toronto Vital Signs Report.
It is only logical that People whose lives are being affected by the decisions of management or government should be directly involved in the process. This is an opportunity to closely work together as a collective in building more inclusive vibrant cities. Worthy of mentioning is that Five (5) major areas that were identified in the report as demanding immediate action: poverty, housing and homelessness, safety, employment and transportation are consistent with the feedback from the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata centre Inc youth roundtable conducted here in Winnipeg.
This thus begs the question of what the forthcoming Winnipeg youth roundtable scheduled for June 30, 2015 holds for us, would it be that the feedback from the previous youth roundtable and the Youth Vital Signs report are just a mere coincidence or cogent issues that should be promptly addressed?
For more information on the forthcoming youth roundtable, please RSVP.