Delegate: Ms. Bjerre
29. Ms. Bjerre (Denmark), speaking as a youth delegate, said that young people were capable of more than they were given credit for, but they could not effect change alone: decision-makers must work with them as partners. Parameters for assessing social development were needed, and young people should play a part in the process of developing such parameters. For instance, Denmark collected vast amounts of statistical data, but numbers alone could not provide a nuanced picture of what was meant by quality education. To ensure that no one was left behind, Denmark and other countries must focus efforts on generating a more holistic approach to measuring levels of social development.
30. While youth participation at the United Nations was growing, it was important to ensure that youth [*6*] forums were not merely a box-ticking exercise: they should serve as stepping stones for higher-level youth participation, for instance in the high-level political forum and the General Assembly. Young people’s participation would be most meaningful if it was mainstreamed across the United Nations system. Failing to continuously include the young generation in decision-making processes was to undermine the longevity and potential of contemporary development initiatives, and Member States must therefore prioritize youth involvement.
31. In order to harness the expert knowledge of young people and their motivation to make change happen, Member States should first establish strong and independent national youth councils that could facilitate formal and diverse youth representation. Second, they should include local youth councils in local Sustainable Development Goal working groups. Lastly, Governments must recognize that young people constituted a highly diverse group and reach out to those who were not yet included.
UN Doc.: A/C.3./74/SR.4