Netherlands – 1993

Delegate: Mr. Hoogerwerf

27. Mr. HOOGERWERF (Netherlands), speaking as a representative of the young people in his country, put forward three propositions. First, in order to make the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the International Youth Year in 1995 really serve to enhance the position of young people, the draft world youth programme of action towards the year 2000 and beyond must emphasize structural measures. Secondly, the United Nations, the specialized agencies and Member States must give more prominence in their activities to the norms and values which formed the starting-point of the various United Nations conventions. Thirdly, education, the chief area of youth policy, must teach norms and valuesbased on the principle of pluralism.

28. The International Youth Year was supposed to promote a special youth policy focusing on education and employment. Yet the assessment made in 1992 by the Secretary-General (A/47/349) and in the Report on the World Social Situation 1993 (E/1993/50) made one wonder if there was really cause for celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Year: primary education had become less accessible to children in the least developed countries, in many areas girls were still at a disadvantage compared to boys, and unemployment among young people was growing because of the world-wide economic recession, while drug and alcohol abuse and criminality were taking an increasing toll among them. The good intentions of the United Nations had not yet been translated into concrete action programmes developing the three basic themes of the International Youth Year, participation, development and peace, and there was the danger that the Year would arouse only a passing interest unless the celebrations to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations gave sufficient attention to youth policy. It was also a cause for concern that young people were still treated as a group apart rather than being integrated into social policy as agents and beneficiaries, and that they were not always involved in decision-making.

29. To avoid further deterioration of the situation of young people, new policy, in particular the draft world youth programme of action, must be based on an assessment of past policy.

30. The norms and values which formed the starting-point of the various United Nations conventions must be integrated into the activities of the United Nations, the specialized agencies and Member States in order to prompt new initiatives on behalf of young people. Norms and values were passed down from one generation to the next by the family and the school, but young people were also influenced by the mass media and leisure activities. There was always a discrepancy between their values and those of the previous generation, everywhere in the world. They might choose to conform to the old norms and values or to rebel against them, but apathy was the most common reaction in the Netherlands and perhaps in the rest of Europe and in the United States as well. The young justified their attitude by the inability of the current generation of politicians to deal with the economic recession, the threat to the environment and the post-cold-war ideological vacuum. Apathy, far removed from the ideals of solidarity, was, however, not universal, and many young people wished to be participants, as evidenced in a document on the contribution of non-governmental youth organizations to the International Commission on Education for the twenty-First Century. [*8*]

31. Education must not be used to impose a single ideology on the young generation but must be based on pluralism, which was the interaction between cultures and generations. From that a new universal set of norms and values could emerge, based on human rights and the rights of the child.

32. If youth policy was to be effective, Member States must actively participate in the various United Nations projects without merely approving thempassively.

33. Lastly, pluralism consisted of a combination of different ingredients, each of which retained its specificity while contributing to the overall flavour, as in paella, rather than of a mixture of ingredients as in a melting pot, or a combination of separate ingredients as in a salad.

UN Doc.: A/C.3/48/SR.15

Original Records

Cite as:
UN Doc.: A/C.3/48/SR.15, 22 October 1993, p. 7-8, Youth Delegate Search:, doi: 10.17176/20221018-195318-0.

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