The new agenda is set to replace the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expiring in 2015.
“One of the things we said as civil society was that we did not want this new agenda to take place without consultations with citizens,” director of Africa Monitor, Namhla Mniki-Mangaliso told CNBC Africa.
(WATCH VIDEO: What is today's global agenda?)
“We went to 10 African countries particularly speaking to young people who comprise about 60 per cent per cent of the regional population.”
Mniki-Mangaliso added that young people and citizens broadly should be the generators of development and should be at the epicentre.
“Policy makers tend to see people as beneficiaries of developments instead of catalysts of development,” decried Mniki-Mangaliso.
She also said a lot of what he organisation have been working on has been to shift the mind-set of policy makers.
In July the UN working group on sustainable development endorsed a set of 17 goals that will form the basis for a new global agenda.
(WATCH VIDEO: Convergence within post-Millennium Development Goals)
The goals were set to be presented at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly underway in New York, USA.
Mniki-Mangaliso said there was disconnect between current leadership with aspirations of citizens on the ground.
“The kinds of problems we face in today’s world are problems that most of the previous generations have a little understand of,” said Mniki-Mangaliso.
“If you talk of things happening in the technology space for example, these are things that the previous generation have no good understanding of.”
Mniki-Mangaliso said one of the problems the region was facing was inequality with 20 per cent of the richest people owning 75 per cent of the world’s wealth which has been called a ticking time bomb.
“If we are going to address challenges like inequality we cannot continue doing business as usual, we need to understand that we need to do structural transformation,” said Mniki-Mangaliso.