We live in an age of networks. Thanks to digitalisation we are more closely interconnected with each other than ever before. Knowledge and ideas flow throughout the world and transcend all previous boundaries. At the same time, the world is younger than ever. Almost half of the world’s population are younger than 25. Together, we now have a unique opportunity to create a better, more sustainable future. This is why the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs is launching the initiative FirstGeneration. Together with our embassies and a broad group of other actors from civil society – not least teachers and educators – the aim is to create a workshop for engagement and change.

On 25 September 2015, 193 world leaders committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change. All 17 Global Goals are closely interconnected. Climate-friendly measures and reforms are connected to poverty reduction, peacebuilding and initiatives to promote gender equality, education and health. Together, we will create a sustainable and more secure world in which people are not forced to flee their own countries.

But now these fine words must be put into practice. This is for real. Also, for the first time, the knowledge and resources now exist to enable us to really succeed. The global goals are a toolbox for a sustainable world.

President Obama has said it.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also said it.

And the Swedish Government is saying it too: the young people of today are the first generation that can actually reverse the trend.

The key to a sustainable future is to stimulate and unleash this generation’s ability to transform knowledge into new creative solutions, ideas, innovations – to go from words to action.

  • All children have the right to education and a childhood free from violence.
  • Gender equality is a prerequisite for achieving the Global Goals. When women’s and girls’ rights are respected, sustainable societies are created.
  • Global partnerships build the future. Through cooperation we create a sustainable future.
  • Creativity and technological innovations are necessary to combat poverty and stop climate change.
  • Decent working conditions for all – and sustainable growth – must become a reality if we are to create a sustainable future.

The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Sweden’s embassies are now reaching out to this first generation that can reverse the trend. We are doing this not least by highlighting teachers around the world. The crucial role of teachers – and other educators – in society, as well as their position as role models and sources of inspiration, gives them unique opportunities to pursue sustainability issues and influence our future. It is now fully possible to create a better future – for everyone – and it is these opportunities that we want to highlight in our new #FirstGeneration campaign.

Through a series of discussions, debates, creative workshops and events all over the world via our embassies, we want to place a clear focus on the Global Goals and kick-start the work of moving from words to action. Teachers are our partners in this work – they are our heroes.

We are convinced that global climate measures and other investments in our endeavours to achieve the Global Goals will not hold humanity back – they will move us forward.

The knowledge and engagement exist. This is why we believe in #FirstGeneration