Delegate: Rebecca Jenkin (23 years)
8. Ms. Jenkin (Australia), speaking as the youth representative and referring to agenda item 98, said that young people were affected by and concerned about a wide range of social issues, while factors such as HIV/AIDS and globalization posed new challenges for the young. Young people were agents of social change and affected by such change. It was important that they should participate in the decision-making processes that affected their lives, since they would have to live with the consequences of decisions taken today. Youth not only were the leaders of tomorrow, but should also be viewed as active and legitimate
partners in society today.
9. Significant developments had been made in increasing youth participation at the international level in recent years. More importantly, youth caucus groups were playing a valuable role at world conferences. Australia had included a youth representative in its delegation to the General Assembly each year since 1999 and strongly encouraged other States to do so. The international community should ensure that the voices of young people representing all minority groups were heard. It was also essential that they were granted meaningful opportunities to participate, enabling Governments and non-governmental organizations to draw upon their expertise; many times, the organizations with greatest impact on addressing the issues young people faced were those where the young had a strong presence.
10. The Australian Government was committed to promoting youth participation and engaging in dialogue with the young. It was also a strong supporter of the World Youth Forum. Proposals had been made to replace the Forum by smaller meetings; however, the Forum was unique in terms of its legitimacy and profile. Limited resources were always an important consideration when staging events of that size, but a well-resourced Forum, held at less frequent intervals, would allow ample planning time and liberate resources to pursue the alternative proposals.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/57/SR.9