80action/2015 is a global campaign calling for concrete actions and ambitious agreements for people and the planet in 2015. On 15th January, action/2015 will launch its international awareness campaign to mobilise and empower the public around the world, and help ensure their voices are heard on the post-2015 development agenda. The RCS has joined this global initiative, made up of thousands of organisations, coalitions and partnerships. The movement reflects a wide range of global issues including poverty, gender justice, anti- discrimination and climate change. Participating groups are united in the belief that the decisions taken in 2015 are critical for our future, and that we need to raise our voices today for the generations of tomorrow.

2015 and the Development Agenda

2015 will be a watershed year for international development issues, marking the culmination of two critical inter-governmental processes. At the UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda in New York in September, the UN General Assembly will finalise the new set of Development Goals for the next 15 years to replace the current Millennium Development Goals. This ambitious framework will aim to end all forms of inequality, discrimination and poverty. Following that, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 21st Conference of the Parties to be held in Paris in December, leaders will come to an agreement aiming to tackle a wide range of climate change issues; most crucially, a realistic approach to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a greener world economy.

If these global agreements can be realised, they could achieve huge benefits, including: an accelerated transition to renewable energy ensuring a sustainable economy ­– with all its benefits for people and planet; an end to the soaring levels of inequality and discrimination, which destroy the lives of many, especially women and girls; securing a world in which everyone’s fundamental rights are met and protected; and a world where everyone can participate and where their leaders are accountable. Indeed, a world in which we ‘leave no one behind’, to echo the words of the UN High Level Panel.

The Commonwealth and Post-2015

Above all, action/2015 recognises the importance of engaging the public across the world in making sure our global leaders are ambitious and aspirations are realized. The Commonwealth has stressed firmly the importance of the involvement of civil society in the conversation on development issues. Early on, the Commonwealth Foundation, with support from the UN Millennium Campaign, undertook a consultation project with civil society (Commonwealth Perspectives: Ideas for a new development agenda) And more recently, the Commonwealth Heads of Government stated the Commonwealth’s strong commitment to tackling the root causes of poverty, exclusion and inequality. With its broad network and ability to consult at all levels from governments to professionals and citizens, the Commonwealth is well-placed to contribute to this exciting global process.

Moreover, a significant part of the action/2015 campaign involves mobilising the voices of young people. In particular, the movement hopes to enable 15-year-olds, who will reach their full maturity in 2030, to share the campaign message with their country leaders. The 2015 Commonwealth theme ‘A Young Commonwealth’ acknowledges the huge potential for engaging the younger generations of our countries and their vital role in development. This year is an excellent opportunity for young people to contribute to discussions on sustainable development. Indeed, over 75% of people who participated in the UN’s My World 2015 - global survey for a better world, were young people aged 16-30, and the results make interesting reading in respect of priority issues. Since half the Commonwealth’s population is made up of people under 25, it is crucial that we make the most of this diverse community to ensure that their voices are heard in making and implementing the decisions that will ultimately affect them the most in the next 15 years.

‘Young people will be the torchbearers of the next sustainable development agenda through 2030. We must ensure that this transition, while protecting the planet, leaves no one behind. We have a shared responsibility to embark on a path to inclusive and shared prosperity in a peaceful and resilient world, where human rights and the rule of law are upheld.’

Synthesis report of the UN Secretary-General on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

How to get involved

Campaigning can be impactful, and creating a future that we want will require increased campaign pressure to ensure world leaders keep to their promises. The RCS would like to hear the voices of everybody who wants to see a fairer and greener world. So, on action2015 Launch Day on Thursday 15th January 2015, why not make some noise on the proposed global development goals?

How would you envisage a better world for future generations?

You can get more involved by doing the following:

  1. Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #action2015 and @thercslondon
  2. Send an email to 15 friends, telling them why the year 2015 is so important
  3. Hold a mini-debate with your youth group or class on the current development goals.
  4. Take and upload a photo of yourself holding up a sheet of paper on which you have put the following:  
  • I am (your name)
  • I am (a development issue you feel strongly about)
  • I am 15
  • #action2015

        5. Write a letter to your newspaper’s editor or a blog post about why 2015 is the year for action.

Whatever you do, make sure the world knows about it by tweeting and uploading your photos to Facebook. You can find more information about action/2015 and how to get involved hereDo keep in touch with the Royal Commonwealth Society during the course of the year by following us on Twitter or joining us on Facebook