Delegate: Ms. Carrie McDougall (22 years)
22. Ms. McDougall (Australia), speaking as the youth representative for the Australian delegation, noted that, as the period “beyond” 2000 approached, much remained to be done to implement the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond. Differing socio-economic and cultural contexts notwithstanding, the Programme of Action could serve as a valuable guide to Governments seeking to mainstream a youth perspective into their policies, activities and funding arrangements.
23. Meaningful youth participation at the national, regional and international levels was vital. In addition to their ability to mobilize support, young people brought unique perspectives to problem-solving. In particular, since intergenerational equity was an important element of sustainable development, young people deserved to participate in decision-making about the world they would inherit. Her Government had launched a number of initiatives to enhance the participation of young people in decision-making, including a National Youth Week devoted to raising awareness of youth-related issues and young people’s contributions to their communities, and a national youth development strategy designed to improve community and government relations with young people. She urged more Member States to join Australia and other countries in including youth representatives in their official delegations to the General Assembly.
24. Her Government welcomed the initiatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to involve young people in the preparatory phase of the special session of the General Assembly in 2001 for follow-up to the World Summit for Children. Youth participation in the session itself would also be important. Her Government hoped that government policy-makers would give serious attention to the outcomes of the fourth Session of the World Youth Forum to be held in Dakar, Senegal, in 2001. Low-cost mechanisms for youth participation and consultation, including those offered by information and communication technology, could also help to foster a dialogue among the world’s young people and between them and their Governments.
25. Effective United Nations support was essential to achieving progress in the above-mentioned areas. In that connection, the United Nations Youth Unit, which was currently a very modest operation, could be expanded to serve as an information focal point and could maintain a database of United Nations youth initiatives and the activities of international youth organizations. The Unit’s internship programme could be expanded and consideration could be given to assigning a Junior Professional Officer to the Unit. The Unit could also consider including youth speakers at United Nations conferences and sharing its workload with international youth organizations.
26. High quality education and training, as well as youth involvement in addressing such problems as poverty, violence, substance abuse, poor health, gender discrimination and poor literacy and numeracy, were also crucial for ensuring the full and effective participation of young people in society.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/55/SR.4