YOUNG people should be involved in the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and work beyond it as the 2015 deadline draws near.

"Our students, the young people, are at the center of whatever future goals and plans our country will draw. It is, therefore, most fitting that they are made part of the series of consultations being done to draw the Philippine Post-2015 Agenda," UST Public Affairs Director Giovanna Fontanilla told youth leaders and faculty members from various colleges and universities at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex auditorium.

Titled “To 2015 and Beyond: The Youth Speak of the Future They Want," the conference was organized by the United Nations’ (UN) Philippine office to discuss the strategies to achieve the MDGs, eight development objectives that 189 UN countries, including the Philippines, committed to achieve back in 2000.

The five pillars of the Philippine Post-2015 Agenda emphasized in the forum were: poverty reduction and social infusion; accountable, responsive and inclusive governance; environmental reduction and social inclusion; peace and security; and fair and stable global order based on international rule of law.

The Philippine Post-2015 Agenda refers to the plans to be adopted after the deadline to meet the MDGs, to continue the country’s development and to sustain progress.

Luiza Carvalho, resident coordinator of UN-Philippines, encouraged the youth to address the social illnesses of the country.

"As students, you know you have the big responsibility of showing us, the older generation, what is not right so we also look very much towards your civic involvement," Carvalho said in her opening remarks in the forum.

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Other speakers were Toshihiro Tanaka, the UN Development Programme’s country director for the Philippines, and Rene Ofreneo, director of the Center for Labor Justice in University of the Philippines Diliman. Also present were Evelyn Songco, assistant to the Rector for student affairs, and Antonio Chua, director of the Student Welfare Development Board.

Among those who attended were students from the Philippine Women's University, Universidad de Manila, Lyceum of the Philippines, San Beda College, De La Salle College of St. Benilde, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and Emilio Aguinaldo College.

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