Delegate: Mr. Niemi
46. Mr. Niemi (Finland), speaking as a youth delegate, said that the long period of economic growth and peace since the Second World War had helped to make the current generation of young people more educated and internationally oriented, yet the Millennium Development Goals of universal primary education and eradication of extreme poverty were far from achieved. The current economic and environmental crises gave many young people the impression that they were losing control of their own destinies. He therefore welcomed the growing number of youth delegates at the General Assembly because genuine participation by youth was a prerequisite for building a more sustainable future.
47. Some 40 per cent of young Finns believed climate change created by humans was a source of insecurity, more than twice the percentage concerned about international terrorism, in a country not greatly affected by climate change and with resources to deal with it. He wondered how young people in a less privileged situation must feel.
48. Youth organizations should be involved in high-level efforts to reach agreements on climate change and played a vital role in influencing young people’s attitudes towards climate change at the national and regional levels. Targets for emissions reductions and other measures should be implemented not only in industry but in schools and everyday life. In Finland for example, in the context of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Eco-Schools programme, 15 per cent of all day-care centres and educational institutions would be recognized for their sustainable development activities. Future generations should not be required to sacrifice their prosperity or well-being; change must therefore start with the current generation.
49. The number of young people affected by domestic, ethnic or other types of violence was alarming. Youth were the most affected group in conflict situations caused by the decisions of others but could and should play a valuable role in preventing crisis and building bridges between groups in conflict. The recommendation in the report of the Secretary-General on Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth: progress and constraints with respect to the well-being of youth and their role in civil society (A/64/61-E/2009/3), under target 2.1 concerning armed conflict and the establishment of mechanisms of youth governance, participation and advocacy in post-conflict situations, should be expanded to include conflict prevention.
50. Freedom was a dialogue based on equality. It was therefore important to involve young people in decisions affecting their future. Failure to do so would result in frustration, disillusionment and possibly conflict, further hindering the building of a better future.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/64/SR.2