Opening remarks by Sezin Sinanoglu: XIII Asia Youth Council AssemblyMay 19, 2015
Opening Remarks at the XIII Asia Youth Council Assembly
One Asia: Youth’s Role in the future Sustainable Development
By Ms. Sezin sinanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, 19 May 2015
- Your Excellency Mr. President (Elbegdorj)
- Your Excellency Minister for Population Development and Social Protection (Mr. Erdene)
- Honorable President of the World Assembly of Youth (Mr. Rt. Hon. Datuk Seri Ir. Idris Haron)
- Honorable Vice President of Asian Youth Council (Mr. Jee Se Sun
- President of the Mongolian Youth Federation
- Young Friends
- The Youth of Asia Pacific
“The leaders of tomorrow must be heard today.” This is what the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon said at the Global Forum on Youth Policies in Azerbaijan in October last year. You are the leaders of tomorrow. You must have a voice today.
Welcome to Mongolia and welcome to the 13th Asia Youth Council Assembly to discuss the role of youth in sustainable development. Here, you have a voice. You will be heard today.
Today, one out of five people around the world is between the ages of 15 and 24. There are 1.8 billion young women and men with needs and demands. With ideas and aspirations. Today we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known.
Unfortunately, of those, 75 million young people are unemployed. Across regions, across countries – the young are not sufficiently represented in politics. Youth belonging to vulnerable or marginalized groups face multiple forms of inequalities and exclusion. It is obvious that youth need special focus, special opportunities and special programmes to address their needs.
At the same time, youth have ideas and aspirations. They are more global and connected than ever before. They are a huge force. They have huge energy. The key is to help channel that force and that energy to constructive and peaceful change for a sustainable, equitable and more prosperous future – for them and for everyone.
You must have heard of the Millennium Development Goals. Those 8 goals that world leaders embraced in the year 2000 have served as an important force in improving the lives and livelihoods for millions of people around the world. The MDGs are ending this year and the world is now discussing a new set of goals, the Sustainable Development Goals – which we hope will be adopted by the UN General Assembly in September this year.
The SDGs tell us that although we have done a lot in the last 15 years, there is more to be done to protect the environment and deal with climate change. To prevent gender based violence; to improve access and quality of education; to increase resilience to disasters. They tell us that there is still a lot to do for a better future for everyone.
You are the children of the MDGs.
But, you will be the adults of the SDGs.
Let me quote again from the UN Secretary General:
“Young people will be the torch bearers of the next sustainable development agenda through 2030. Today, more than ever, the realities of 1.8 billion youth and adolescents represent a dynamic, informed, and globally connected engine for change. Integrating their needs, rights to choice and their voices in the new agenda, will be a key factor for its success.”
I invite you to be that engine. To be engaged in your countries, you communities to translate the Sustainable Development Goals into action and into reality for your people.
We encourage you to understand your rights, engage in civil society, public service and political processes at all levels. Learn about the channels through which you may constructively and positively exercise your civil and political rights and contribute to decision making. Volunteer and become positive agents for change in your communities. Work to empower yourselves but also to empower other young people, the vulnerable and the marginalized. Strive for peace. Strive for development.
On our side, the UN commits to promote your needs and voice at every opportunity.
In shaping the Post 2015 agenda, the UN has reached out to youth everywhere in the world. At the global level, over seven million citizen worldwide voted in the MYWorld 2015 survey to tell us all what kind of a world they want. Nearly 60 percent of participants were young people aged 16-30. Youth put good education, better health care and decent jobs, an honest and responsive government and food security at the top of their list. All of those have found their place in the new SDGs.
The UN Secretary-General (UNSG) has identified working with and for young people as one of his top priorities in his Five-year Action Agenda. He has appointed the first ever Envoy on Youth in January 2013 to advocate for addressing the development needs and rights of young people, as well as to bring the work of the United Nations with and for youth closer to them. You now have an energetic young person from Jordan to make sure youth are officially represented in all major UN fora.
In Mongolia, the UN has made youth concerns a priority. We are helping the Government develop a youth policy. The UN Population Fund has helped established Youth Development Centers all around the country. The UN Development Programme is finalizing a National Human Development Report that studies not only the vulnerabilities and needs of young people but also their aspirations and changing values. The whole UN Country Team has a Youth Advisory Panel that works with us to bring in the voices of young people to our work. We believe in young people and are committed to work with and for them.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like congratulate and thank the Government of Mongolia for hosting such an important event and bringing over 600 delegates together. This event is demonstration of their commitment to youth; their interest to partner with youth to understand their problems and find solutions that they can implement together.
I would like to end by thanking the Mongolian Youth Federation and all youth organizations for so ably and so energetically organizing this event! would like to thank the Asian Youth Council for being such an active and unifying force for Asian Youth.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge all of you, the young people of Asia for coming together, joining forces for a better future for all.
I wish you all a very successful Assembly and a very enjoyable stay in Mongolia.