Delegate: Mr. Kargl
Mr. Kargl (Austria): Before I start, let me point out that I fully endorse the statement just made by the Spanish delegate on behalf of the European Union. Please let me add some comments from a youth’s perspective.
On behalf of Austria’s young women and men and the Austrian youth organizations, I am glad to convey to you our warmest congratulations on this fiftieth anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations. The efforts made to achieve the aims of the United Nations Charter are, despite all problems, indispensable and must not be underestimated by any government or organization today or the future. We, today’s young generation, feel responsible for upholding and spreading the spirit of the Charter.
Young people must have a more important role in the social and political development of the world. We no longer want to be objects of governments’ youth policies, but want to participate fully in building our own future. This future must be one of peace and justice. Therefore, all young people and youth organizations have to be recognized as partners of governments at all levels. The reform process now under way within the United Nations system should include the creation of a proper framework [*8*] in which non-governmental youth organizations can meet and participate.
In Austria, more and more, youth organizations are successfully involved in the political decision-making process. The co-management system between youth non-governmental organizations and governments, well-established in the Council of Europe since 1972, is now also implemented at the national level. For the first time, everyone is working together on an equal footing in the European Youth Campaign against Racism, Xenophobia, Antisemitism and Intolerance. We would also like to see this co-management within the United Nations, in order to improve the quality of United Nations youth work.
In the same spirit, I hope that more countries will follow the Austrian example by involving their youth organizations in national youth policies and in their work within the United Nations.
In the follow-up to International Youth Year in Austria, local, regional and national children and youth parliaments took place. At the same time, independent ombudspersons were appointed to protect the rights of children and youth.
The historic changes in Central and Eastern Europe affected the life and future of all young people in Austria. Youth exchange and training programmes with countries in transition have been organized in the spirit of peace and mutual understanding.
A major national initiative resulting from International Youth Year is HOPE ’87, which stands for “Hundreds of Original Projects for Employment”. This Association is affiliated with the United Nations and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and is active in more than 15 countries around the world. Austria is the main contributor. HOPE ’87 creates jobs for young people and supports training programmes by providing grant schemes and seed money for self-employment. HOPE ’87 supports the reconstruction of educational facilities in Sarajevo and the vocational training of war-disabled young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I have mentioned the positive cooperation between my Government and Austrian non-governmental organizations in the ongoing campaign against racism and intolerance. In this respect I want to draw attention to the recent report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which supports the struggle of non-governmental organizations in the field of human rights and youth for an asylum law in full accordance with the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and other human rights instruments.
As representative of the Austrian Youth Council I welcome the United Nations headquarters in Vienna. I hope that the United Nations will continue to be a place where youth organizations have a voice, so that youth can still trust someone over 50.
UN Doc.: A/50/PV.41