Delegate: Adam Smith
11. Mr. Smith (Australia), speaking as his delegation’s youth representative, said that, while issues for young people throughout the world might appear different on the surface, it had been his experience that they were fundamentally the same. Young people everywhere wanted to feel safe, valued and respected and to have a sense of control and influence over the direction of their lives. Often, however, communities did not know how best to engage, challenge and inspire their youth. In Australia, for example, in the past there had been very active church, sporting and other community groups which allowed young people to interact with their peers, develop role models and establish a sense of belonging to a community. Such structures no longer existed to the same extent, and consequently, young people became detached from the traditional community and felt socially isolated.
12. The shift away from informal cross-generational relationships was resulting in a number of negative outcomes, and for its part, Australia was grappling with defining the role of men and focusing on the education of adolescent males. It was also looking to embrace diversity and enhance understanding among the many communities making up its multicultural population.
13. By the middle of the twenty-first century, more than half the world’s population would be comprised of children and the elderly, yet the majority of decisions for those groups were made by those most removed. The value of engaging young people in the decisionmaking process must be recognized.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/58/SR.3