Delegate: Ms. Natalie Haas
36. Ms. Haas (Austria), speaking as a youth delegate, said that she had travelled to different regions of her country and spoken with young people from all backgrounds. They were scared by the attempts to focus on differences rather than similarities, and were concerned by demagogy and the increasing polarization of societies. Such fears stemmed from both actual and perceived disparities in opportunities. While some differences were physically apparent, the differences very often included beliefs, socioeconomic backgrounds
and opportunities. Many people experienced unjust or unfair treatment in one form or another because of the group to which they belonged. Despite the disparities in opportunities, and the multiple forms of discrimination, young people continued to demonstrate an extraordinary will to tackle the challenges that they faced.
37. Her country had been the first to allow voting from the age of 16 at all political levels, thereby offering more opportunities for youth to actively shape their surroundings. Young people had a desire to volunteer and cooperate regardless of ideological boundaries, and
they offered creative and innovative ideas for reducing inequalities. Over half of Austrian youth was involved in voluntary activities. The Sustainable Development Goals had the potential to lead to a world based on the principles of freedom, equality and solidarity, which should be understood from a global and inclusive perspective with respect for universal human rights. Young people had a right to participate in decision-making at the international level, and it was important to reduce inequalities among them, so that the world could benefit from their contributions and diversity.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/73/SR.2