Delegate: Ms. Atanassova
1. Ms. Atanassova (Bulgaria), speaking as the Bulgarian youth delegate to the sixty-second session of the General Assembly, said that the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union had opened up many possibilities for mobility, education and job opportunities to her country’s youth. One of the most pressing issues facing the international community was how to guarantee the effective participation of youth in the global economy. Unfortunately, a decade after the adoption of the World Programme of Action on Youth, its goals had not been met.
2. Unemployment had become one of the biggest challenges for global youth, and she called on Member States to put an end to the escalating juvenilization and feminization of poverty as a matter of utmost priority. Both the public and private sectors should provide opportunities for self-employment, vocational training, poverty reduction and job creation. An alternative way to fight joblessness was to promote social entrepreneurship through training and microcredit. The costs of microfinance were small compared to their impact on empowerment and escape from poverty and marginalization.
3. Although progress had been made in the area of literacy, primary education was still not universal. In the current knowledge-based economy, even secondary education was no longer a guarantee of entry into the labour market. Therefore, young people must have opportunities for higher education and to acquire skills through non-formal and on-the-job training. The gap between available skills and labour market demands could be bridged by involving employers in adjusting the educational curriculum to the needs of the market.
4. Besides being a driving force in poverty reduction and modernization of education, youth should also be recognized as a reliable and committed partner in achieving international development strategies such as the Millennium Development Goals. As the international community moved into the implementation stages of its development agenda, youth must be mobilized to become not only beneficiaries but contributors.
5. Therefore, she strongly supported youth consultation mechanisms and called on all Governments to include youth representatives in their delegations to the United Nations. She commended the establishment of the United Nations Youth Fund in 1981 and urged Member States to allocate funding for its activities on a regular and predictable basis. Businesses that were members of the Global Compact should support the empowerment of youth delegates and facilitate other forms of youth participation as well.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/62/SR.5