Netherlands – 1987

Delegate: Ms. Bakker

43. Ms. BAKKER (Netherlands) referred to a meeting held in Amsterdam in May 1987, in which five Nobel Prize winners and a group of young people had participated, on the theme of young people and the future. During the discussion, the young people had expressed ideals and objectives which were related to those of the United Nations.

44. It was crucial to determine – and that task fell to the Third Committee – whether their common interests had given rise to a productive relationship between youth and the United Nations, and whether those young people had really been able to participate. International Youth Year, the results of which had been found satisfactory by the General Assembly, had created an awareness of the situation, needs and aspirations of youth. There must be a continuous effort to resolve specific youth-related problems.

45. Youth must be allowed maximum participation in the programmes and policies of the United Nations and specialized agencies. Not enough had been done in answer to the appeal for the widest possible participation by youth in the General Assembly.

46. A more specific, decentralized youth policy must be applied in the United Nations system as a whole, and the specialized agencies must develop concrete policies and programmes in their respective fields, taking existing programmes into account, as well as the Guidelines for Further Planning and suitable Follow-up in the Field of Youth (A/42/59>).

47. She welcomed the fact that the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs had been designated as the focal point for youth activities within the United Nations system. She was fully satisfied with the chapter of the Secretary-General’s report (A/42/595) on the channels of comunication between the United Nations and youth and youth organizations. However, the chapter on the major trends [*unreadable word*] activities of the United Nations system concerning the implementation of the Guidelines was too general. Therefore, the General Assembly should request the Secretary-General to submit another report at the forty-third session, with a more concrete list of all youth-related programmes being carried out by the United Nations and the specialised agencies. The report should also indicate the manner in which the programmes were applying the Guidelines under the themes of housing, health, employment, communication, culture and education.

48. Under the general heading of youth, different groups must be distinguished, with their own particular needs and aspirations. For example, young women constituted a special group since they represented the majority of the unskilled, [*12*] unemployed and low- income workers. Although young women formed a target group for United Nations policies concerning both women and youth, the co-ordination of those policies was very limited. Better co-ordination would help to focus attention on certain groups and ensure that scarce resources were not wasted.

49. The problems of housing, health and employment were of particular importance for youth, affecting its physical, intellectual and social development. Within the context of human settlements, it was important to focus on the problem of the flow of young people from rural to urban areas and to provide vocational training in rural areas, adjusted to the local job opportunities for youth. During the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements had streseed the need for community participation in house-building, in which young people, in particular, should be involved. A shortage of housing for young people also existed in developed countries. Despite the measures adopted by the Dutch Government, the problem was far from being resolved and three quarters of those most urgently in need of housing were aged between 18 and 24.

50. With respect to employment, the International Labour Organisation should regard youth unemployment as a separate problem requiring separate recommendations for national action. Proportional participation of male and female youth must also be ensured, as established in the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, since the lack of employment opportunities for young women could have harmful effects, including the possibility of sexual exploitation. Although the number of unemployed youth in the Netherlands had decreased in recent years, the figures remained relatively high for certain qroups, such as migrants, handicapped people and women. The Government had recognized that situation and had asked for implementation of appropriate policies. For example, it had initiated a publicity and information campaign to encourage students to choose science at the secondary and higher levels, and it had worked out a plan to guarantee temporary jobs for young people aged 16 and 17, after half a year of unemployment.

51. With respect to health issues, in many parts of the world young people were exposed to serious threats such as malnutrition and epidemic or endemic diseases. Youth should be actively involved in the programmes carried out under the auspices of the world Health Organization, which put a major emphasis on prevention. Social aid services must he created to deal with the health problems of youth, and issues of specific concern to women , such as contraception and unwanted pregnancy, must be addressed. In many cases the non-governmental organisations were best equipped to provide those services. In the Netherlands, those organisations played an important role in that field and, for example, had established shelters for battered women.

52. In the health field, mention had to be made of AIDS. In order that all young people could behave responsibly, it was necessary to disseminate information on the means of transmission and methods of prevention, in a way that avoided prejudice and misconceptions leading to unjustified anxiety. Governments, non-governmental organizations, and everyone individually should discourage all forms of discrimination against such groups as homosexuals, prostitutes or drug addicts and, in general, the first aim must be to raise awareness of the problem in order to [*13*] prevent the reversal of developments in areas which had just begun to show positive results, such as the emancipation of youth and in particular of young women.

53. In conclusion, she echoed the words of the Executive Director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements and said that young people were a force that should be used as a catalyst to stimulate popular participation in development programmes. If there was serious belief in the benefits of the emanicipation of young men and women, then full participation must be accepted and promoted.

UN Doc.: A/C.3/42/SR.14

Original Records

Cite as:
UN Doc.: A/C.3/42/SR.14, 15 October 1987, p. 11-13, Youth Delegate Search: