Delegate: Traci-Ann C. Johns (19 years)
13. Ms. Johns (Jamaica), speaking as Youth Ambassador, expressed her appreciation of General Assembly resolution 60/2, which encouraged youth participation in national delegations and had enabled her to address the Committee, in accordance with the tenet of the Jamaica National Youth Policy that all youth had the right to participate in decision-making that affected their well-being. Several United Nations measures sought to address the deterioration of the status of youth worldwide, who faced growing levels of unemployment, poverty and epidemics. While overall conditions had improved in the past decade, there was overwhelming evidence that more needed to be done. Accordingly, the World Youth Report 2005 had outlined 10 priority areas targeted by the General Assembly for the social development of youth, which included poverty, unemployment and health.
14. Although Jamaica, with help from a number of United Nations assistance programmes, had achieved a gradual reduction of the percentage of young people living in poverty, 20 per cent were still living in conditions of poverty as of 1998. Unemployment had many adverse social effects, poverty being the harshest. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) could play a greater role by facilitating largescale microcredit financing exclusively for young entrepreneurs, which would reinforce entrepreneurial behaviour and self-sufficiency.
15. Jamaican youth continued to be affected by the scourge of HIV/AIDS, with an estimated 10,000 young people in the 15-24 age group infected. It was evident that the virus could have a devastating effect on any society, let alone small island developing States like her own, decimating the youth labour force. Jamaica had adopted a five-pronged approach to the problem, which included HIV/STI surveillance, treatment and [*4*] care. She was grateful for the assistance that her country had received from the United Nations system in combating HIV/AIDS, Goal 6 of the Millennium Development Goals, to which her country was fully committed. Another negative aspect of the disease was discrimination against infected youth, especially in the workplace, which could not but swell the ranks of unemployed young people. In conclusion, she underscored the importance of the unity symbolized by the United Nations and said that her country would assign the highest priority to the promotion of social progress, justice and enhancement of the human condition, based on the full participation of all.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/61/SR.4