The Timok Youth Center (TOC) in cooperation with the Center for Advanced Economic Studies (CEVES), within the “SDGs for ALL” dialogue platform, has carried out a research on the level of knowledge and the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals among young people aged 15 to 30 years in the Republic of Serbia. The research was conducted using quantitative (online questionnaire) and qualitative techniques (focus groups with different groups of young people across Serbia).
The results of the study show that young people are not sufficiently informed about the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As many as 83% of the young people included in the research stated that they knew nothing or almost nothing about the 2030 Agenda. Only a little more than 10% stated that they were well or completely informed. This means that practically only one in ten young persons is familiar with the 2030 Agenda. A slightly higher level of knowledge arises with regard to the SDGs, so that ca. 3 out of 10 young people state that they are informed (15.9% are aware of them, 13% are fully informed). On the other hand, every third young person (33.6%) said they had absolutely no knowledge of the SDGs. More than 2/3 of the young people are not informed (51.1% said they were not informed at all, 17.6% were only poorly informed) about how many SDGs there actually are. One in five young persons answered that they knew the number of the SDGs (8.5% said they knew all SDGs, 11.1% said they had complete knowledge of the SDGs).
When it comes to the dimensions of sustainable development, environmental protection is most important for young people, followed by the dimension of social inclusion, and last by economic growth. The average values determined on a scale from 1 – not important to me at all to 5 – very important to me, are as follows: environmental protection – 4.64; social inclusion 4.41; economic growth – 4.04. Rating 5 – which is “very important to me” – was given to environmental protection by 71.5% of young people, to social inclusion by 58.5%, and to economic growth by 35.8%.
However, when the respondents were asked to select five of the most important SDGs and rank them according to their importance, the following result emerged: 1. Access to free, high-quality education; 2. Universal comprehensive health protection 3. No hunger 4. No poverty 5. Access to drinking water and sanitation for everyone.
It turns out that despite of a high level of awareness on the importance of environmental protection and social inclusion, young people also need additional information about these two dimensions of sustainable development (what do they include, what are the problems and challenges, etc.). What is particularly striking is the need for a better understanding of the concept of sustainable economic growth in the context of environmental protection and social cohesion.
The general conclusion from this research is that young people can be strong allies for all institutions and organizations involved in the implementation of the SDGs. All aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals are important to young people and they can act as real ambassadors to raise awareness of the importance of each goal for sustainable development.
Author of the research: Boban Stojanović
The full research in Serbian language can be found at this LINK
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