By Dumiso Gatsha
12 December commemorates Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and it could not be at a better time, when the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the political declaration on UHC. I had the privilege of being in the main hall as heads of states made presentations and realized just how far off my assumptions on UN advocacy and holding leaders accountable were. There was little space for engagement or deliberating, never mind presenting a statement as civil society. Having had the privilege to better understand the UN system through being present, navigating complex spaces and having my dreams deffered in civil society networks,I realised that I had always been doing the more important work: on the ground, in my community and country. As a young person, I had always observed and now document the complexity of any form of activism. However, there has never been a more critical time for urgency. With Human Rights Day having been dedicated to young people, along with several initiatives by UN agencies and large institutions; the time for talking, speaking of and serving on behalf of has has come to an end. There is a need for an urgency to harnessing the diverse, creative and plethora of capacity that already exists in youth leadership today. The many non-resourced and extractive approaches to engaging young people on their expertise in fellowships, advisory groups, quota leadership allocations, one year and once-off interventions must stop. Putting your money where your mouth is means employing equitably and and safeguarding the sustainability of everyone’s future. The political commitment made by states on UHC should never be looked at in isolation. The Sustainable Development Goals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are clear inter-generational aspirations and recognition of the need to leave no one behind where politics and essentially, democracy, can be involved. This is why we have taken part in showcasing the talent and perspectives that young people have when engaged within political commitments. Listen in and follow our social media channels for more.