UN Summit Marks Kick-Off of 15-Year Effort – October 1 2015 UN Summit Marks Kick-Off of 15-Year Effort ‘Marathon’ to achieve sustainable development goals has begun, says CEO A big milestone was reached on 25-27 September with the adoption of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by a special summit of the United Nations. The SDGs are a new set of global goals, following and expanding on the millennium development goals. Over the next 15 years, UN member states are expected to frame their agendas and public policies around the SDGs. In recent years, SOS Children’s Villages, together with other children’s NGOs, has actively advocated for the world’s most vulnerable children – those who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing parental care - to be included in the new development framework. “Never before has a global policy paved the way as the SDGs have done – giving equal opportunities to the world’s children. We will all be judged on whether we can turn these opportunities into real achievements”, said Richard Pichler, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages International. Mr Pichler was at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York to confirm the commitment of the organization to join hands with its partners to help achieve the goals that can transform the lives of disadvantaged children. “It was impressive to be part of the standing ovation given to the SDGs by over 160 heads of state”, Mr Pichler said. “For civil society organizations our friend Salil Shetil, Secretary General of Amnesty International, reminded the heads of state of the inconsistency if they approve the SDGs, but at the same time do nothing to abolish inequality of marginalized groups, amongst them the children in most disadvantaged circumstances”. Daniel Mijailovski (24), a former youth from SOS Children’s Villages FYR Macedonia, was also there as one of the 194 young people selected to represent the world’s youth at this historic event at the United Nations. Former SOS youth Daniel Mijailovski and SOS USA's Ashleigh Lovett Daniel spoke at a round table on employment for young people. He has been a committed advocate on this issue for long time, and back in Macedonia he has already convinced the government to start a special employment program for young people coming from alternative care settings. SOS Children’s Villages International will be focusing on the five SDGs that most directly affect children’s well-being and future opportunities. They are the goals of ending child poverty, ensuring quality education for all, creating equal job opportunities for all, reducing inequality within and among countries, and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. CEO Richard Pichler and the Director of the UN Millennium Campaign Mitchell Toomey together commit to make the voices of children and young people heard in the implementation of the SDGs Mr Pichler said SOS Children’s Villages International will work with its partners in childcare to help ensure the successful implementation of the SDGs, so that no child is left behind. For example, SOS Children's Villages has recently partnered with children's NGOs and disability-rights organizations to ensure the SDGs gather data on the most vulnerable children. “The (NGO) sector stands together on a global level… A highly inclusive process of four years brought many stakeholders on board. It is for each of us now to carry the momentum into the marathon of the next fifteen years.” Meeting with dignitaries from all over the world, Mr Pichler said he was proud to tell them that SOS Children’s Villages has firmly embedded the SDGs into its own strategic planning process.