Delegate: Mr. Matej Peretin (14 years)
Mr. Peretin (Croatia): My name is Matej Peretin, and I am a youth delegate and a member of the Croatian delegation to the sixtieth session of the General Assembly. I am 14 years old and a first-year student at the Petar Preradović grammar school in Slatina, a town in northern Croatia. I was recently elected President of the Local Youth Council of Slatina, which operates within the framework of the Croatian National Youth Council.
Croatia has aligned itself with the statement of the European Union delivered by the United Kingdom. I wish to take this opportunity to describe how young people in Croatia have implemented, at the local level, the recommendations of the World Programme of Action for Youth and the relevant parts of the Millennium Goals.
Croatia has had a national youth policy since 2000. Among the key priorities of this policy are the participation of youth in decision-making, non-formal education and youth employment. Consistent with the call of the World Programme of Action for Youth for full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and in decision-making, a National Youth Council was initiated and registered in Croatia in 2001. The Council operates as a national civil society organization, open to all young people in Croatia between the ages of 15 and 29.
The Croatian National Youth Council has signed a social partnership agreement with the Croatian Government, and the Government has approved the Council as a member of the State working group for the elaboration of a national programme of action for youth. In 2001, the President of the Council was invited to participate in the Croatian Presidents expert group for youth.
The Council has also represented the interests of Croatian youth at a number of international events, including, inter alia, the fourth session of the World Youth Forum, held in Dakar; the International Labour Organization Global Employment Forum; and the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Geneva. In 2005, the Council was awarded the World Youth Award by the World Assembly of Youth as one of the three most effective national youth councils globally. The Secretary-General of the Croatian National Youth Council serves as the Vice-President of the World Assembly of Youth.
The network of local youth councils in Croatia relies significantly upon information and communications technology. I invite delegates to visit the Croatian National Youth Council booth near Conference Room 4 here at United Nations Headquarters to learn more about the Councils governance and activities.
The Croatian delegation invites youth delegates and Governments of Member States to re-commit themselves to the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth. In this regard, we encourage Member States that have not yet done so to [*17*] consider adopting a full and effective youth participation agenda at all levels of Government in relation to the social, economic and political processes that concern young people. In Croatia, we have found that direct elections for local youth councils have been important in strengthening legitimacy. In addition, cooperation between local civil society organizations, governmental bodies and the private sector can be helpful in developing funding schemes for employment and educational opportunities for youth.
Finally, allow me to draw the Assemblys attention to a Croatian initiative. In 2002, we began negotiations on the establishment of a Croatian Youth Bank, focused on job creation for young people. In the same year, youth representatives from around the world gathered in Croatia and expressed their will to be included in the process of establishing a world youth bank. In 2002, a special resolution on a world youth bank was adopted by most representatives of national youth councils across the globe. The World Youth Bank Network, an international non-governmental organization that is the preparatory body for the establishment of a world youth bank, is now operating from its administrative headquarters in Zagreb. It is my pleasure to invite all participants to join us tomorrow at the World Youth Bank Project side event, which will focus on a potential strategy to address the global problem of the high level of youth unemployment. Members can also learn more about this project on the World Wide Web at www.w-yb.org.
Finally, allow me to express the intention of the Government of the Republic of Croatia to continue to attach special importance to the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth.
UN Doc.: A/60/PV.28