Delegate: Wilco Otte (23 years)
16. Mr. Otte (Netherlands) said that his work as a youth representative of his country had sent him, among other places, to the slums of Hyderabad, where his first-hand look at poverty had impressed upon him the fact that Dutch youth were much more privileged than their peers in the slums. Injustice caused by social, political and economic inequality was widespread; it crossed borders and affected all people.
17. While young people in the Netherlands had the opportunity to attend school and could not hold a proper job before the age of 16, some 218 million under-age children in the developing world were obliged to work to support their families and simply could not go to school. While the Internet provided young people in the developed countries with an excellent opportunity for cultural interaction, the only advanced technology seen by young people trapped in war-torn regions was the weapons that disrupted their lives. Young people were the world’s biggest stakeholders, but many had no say in national and international decision-making. The United Nations had the power to do something about inequality in education and political participation and should also focus on the impact of new technology on armed conflict. Social exclusion, discrimination and inequality could be overcome if the focus was placed on the humanity shared by everyone, regardless of racial, social, economic or political differences. Solidarity was one of the eight elements of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace.
18. He drew attention to three projects based on solidarity and humanity: the MV Foundation, dedicated to eliminating child labour and establishing universal primary education in Andhra Pradesh in southern India; the UNICEF-supported Return to Happiness programme, in which young volunteers — themselves often survivors — gave therapeutic support to young people coping with loss due to conflicts or natural disasters in many countries of the world; and the participation of youth delegations to conferences and meetings. Accordingly, he urged Member States to fulfil their political, social and economic commitment to bring about a world founded on equality and shared humanity. They must abolish the age discrepancy between ILO Convention No. 138 and Goal 2 of the Millennium Development Goals; launch a proactive campaign to provide young people with opportunities for decent and meaningful work, making them less likely to join disruptive factions; and bring a Youth Delegate to the General Assembly.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/61/SR.4