Delegate: Kathrine Sund
9. Ms. Sund (Norway), speaking as the youth representative of Norway, said that half the world’s young people were living in poverty and almost a quarter in extreme poverty. Young people also accounted for nearly half of all new HIV infections in the world. The key to changing that situation was education. Universal primary education was the focus of the second Millennium Development Goal, but achieving that goal by 2015 was not enough: the education provided must be of good quality and relevant to children’s everyday lives. A strong system of secondary and tertiary education was also essential to empower people to participate in society and promote development. Without education, people did not have the tools necessary for entering the many arenas of power at the national and international levels.
10. Three groups of young people were especially vulnerable in terms of education and influence: indigenous people, girls and children and youth in conflict zones. Education for indigenous people must be empowering and respectful of their culture. Girls — and women — should have equal access to education. Children in conflict zones were missing out on childhood and schooling. Education was an area where political decision-making at all levels should include youth participation. The United Nations was another. She urged all governments to focus on strengthening the entire education systems of developing countries to enable them to provide good-quality education that was relevant to everyday life, respectful of local culture and sensitive to the needs of marginalized groups. She urged the General Assembly to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, called on all governments to eliminate gender disparities at all levels of education by no later than 2015 and urged the international community to take responsibility for the education of children and youth in conflict zones by ensuring that education as a humanitarian response was adequately funded and coordinated and that a percentage of the funds raised through United Nations flash appeals for emergencies was earmarked for the education sector. Lastly, she urged governments to include youth representatives when issues related to youth were being debated and to send youth delegates to the General Assembly.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/61/SR.3