Delegates: Mr. Matthew Gréant, Ms. Sara Coghe
114. Mr. Gréant (Belgium), speaking as a youth delegate, said that the worldwide web, facetiming and high-speed trains seemed to be the height of connectedness. Yet many young people felt insecure, vulnerable and lonely. As one of the most important tools for empowering them, education could offer them safe spaces for exchanging and learning about each other’s differences, promoting peace and opening their minds to the outside world. Quality education must help young people to find a place in society and prevent them becoming easy targets in conflict situations. Young people must be key actors in achieving change and sustainable peace. They were involved in armed conflicts as victims, instigators, in most cases against their will. In his country, although there was no armed
conflict, young people witnessed other types of violence such as hate speech, intolerance, discrimination, psychological violence and extremism.
115. Ms. Coghe (Belgium), speaking as a youth delegate, said that in addition to receiving quality education, health care and other basic services, young people should be empowered through youth councils and mentor programmes and by alerting them to issues in their community. Regular consultations with youth should be held to better understand their needs and priorities. Moreover, they must stand up for their rights and assume their responsibilities. She and her colleague had the privilege of speaking before the Third Committee, but it was time for new decision-making practices in which children and young people had their fair share. Young people did not want to be represented; they wanted to be present. Lasting peace could only be envisaged when young people became equal partners in the prevention of conflict and the delivery of relief and recovery efforts. Resolutions should not be allowed to gather dust on the desks of decision makers. They should be handed out, passed on and disseminated.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/73/SR.3