Delegate: Mr. Veraghtert
76. Ms. Veraghtert (Belgium), speaking as a youth delegate, said that while the World Programme of Action for Youth identified the full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and in decision-making as a priority, the fact that only 11 per cent of countries had sent youth delegates to the General Assembly showed that much remained to be done. Youth wanted to be actively involved at all political levels, from local to international. To that end, formal structures, including student councils, municipal and regional youth councils and international structures such as in the European Union, must be established to foster real dialogue and effective cooperation and participation. The European Union’s structured dialogueprocess, for example, involved young people in the development of policies concerning them.
77. New information and communications technologies offered young people an opportunity to make themselves heard and participate in political life. Accordingly, Member States should ensure free access to those technologies and information. In order to be able to take full advantage of such structures and new technologies young people must be provided with opportunities for both formal and non-formal education. Education should not only transmit knowledge and train youth in the new technologies but also encourage critical thinking.
78. The creativity and energy of youth were assets that had not been eroded by the economic crisis. While increased participation by youth might be considered by delegates to be an additional right granted to young people, young people considered it to be their civic duty.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/64/SR.2