Delegate: Ms. Blackwood
71. Miss Blackwood (Jamaica), speaking as a youth representative, said that her delegation supported the statement made by Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). On behalf of the youth of her country, she wished to comment on some of the situations that presented a particular threat to young people. One such threat was the increase in armed conflicts and the use of children and young people as pawns in warfare, whether as targets or perpetrators. All concerned parties must work together to transform the vicious cycle of war into a culture of peace. Another situation that threatened young people was the widening gap between developed and developing countries. Despite the promised benefits of globalization developing countries were being increasingly marginalized in the world economy and faced problems of access to markets, capital and technology. The problems created by that international environment made the societies of developing countries like Jamaica more susceptible to criminal activities, drug-trafficking and the proliferation of small arms. Once again, it was the young people who usually fell victim to the dangers. The youth of Jamaica urged continued international cooperation on such matters as finance and development, poverty eradication and international drug control.
72. The World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, the adoption of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes, and the Braga Youth Action Plan were all important mechanisms for generating international cooperation. But the United Nations did not bear sole responsibility for action; the individual Member States must also play an important role. The Government of Jamaica had implemented a national youth policy aimed at giving young people the opportunity to develop their full mental, social, spiritual and physical potential through training programmes to assist youth to be responsible, productive citizens.
73. Some of the initiatives implemented under the policy included the National Youth Service Programme, which enabled young persons aged 17 to 24 who were neither employed nor enrolled in an educational institution to receive job training and an opportunity to continue their education. Another example was a special training and empowerment [*11*] programme launched in 1997 to provide young people with training in hospitality management, information technology and office-administration technology. In addition, courses had been developed to provide formal training in youth development and youth studies. The Government had also undertaken public awareness campaigns on drug abuse within the schools and the community at large. Similar programmes had been implemented to address the issue of HIV/AIDS.
74. The Jamaican Government had embraced the idea that young people should be given the opportunity to be heard. During the past year the Prime Minister had travelled around the country and held public forums with young people to discuss the issues affecting them. In 1998 a youth technology consultant had been appointed to accompany the Minister of Commerce and Technology to technology events dealing with youth-related matters and to provide the Minister with a young person’s perspective on the world of information and technology.
75. She would urge the international community to remember that the rationale behind the World Programme of Action for Youth was not only to identify and create youth policies and programmes, but also to give youth an opportunity to be active participants.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/54/SR.4