Children can do more than carry the torch; they can light it, says SOS Children's Villages International Vice President Dr Gitta Trauernicht speaks at UN. Photographer: Joel Sheakoski On Tuesday, 7 July, the Vice President of SOS Children’s Villages International spoke at the United Nations in New York and called for children and young people to be at the centre of implementing the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Speaking on behalf of SOS Children’s Villages and other child-focused organisations, Dr Gitta Trauernicht addressed the High Level Political Forum – the mechanism that will be in charge of reviewing and evalutaing the progress made by member states on the new goals. More info on the forum is here. A key issue the forum is addresing is how best to communicate the new goals. On this, Dr Trauernicht said: “If you ask me, what is the best way to communicate the agenda – how to make it universal yet adapted to national circumstances, how to make it integrated and how to ensure that everybody, every child and every woman, every farmer and every worker, those most privileged and those for whom things must change – then my answer is: involve children and young people. In our opinion, they are not only the torch bearers, they are also the torch starters.” Dr Trauernicht outside the UN building in New York Photographer: Joel Sheakoski Dr Trauernicht offered these practical suggestions for involving young people in the communication process: Develop child friendly materials and include them in schools. The spirit of the agenda has to become second nature for children. Dr Trauernicht shared with the forum a child-friendly version of the SDGs that SOS Children’s Villages has been involved with developing. The forum should create opportunities for children to express – on local, national and regional levels – how the agenda is having an impact on their lives Dr Trauernicht said it is the responsibility of governments, the UN system and civil society actors alike to ensure that all children are able to participate in achieving sustainable development. Dr Trauernicht was representing some of the biggest international NGOs: ChildFund, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision. More on Dr Trauernicht here. SOS Children’s Villages believes that the new SDGs must focus on supporting the world’s most vulnerable – especially children without parental care or those at risk of losing it. Many children were clearly not reached by the MDGs, and SOS Children’s Villages has been fighting for their needs to be addressed by the new agenda. More on our views and input to the process can be found here.