Delegate: Carla Mouro (28 years)
Ms. Mouro (Portugal) (spoke in French): On behalf of the Portuguese Government, I have been designated to represent Portuguese youth during this special meeting of the General Assembly devoted to youth.
I wish to associate myself with the statement made by the youth representative of the United Kingdom on behalf of the European Union.
In recent years much work has been done to reaffirm youth policies, particularly as concerns the objectives set out in the World Programme of Action for Youth, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As citizens of the world, we want to express our ideas and feelings and to create the necessary conditions for the participation of young
people in society.
We believe that we need more than just recognition. Young people represent an important social group and should enjoy the right to participate and state their views on all aspects of society relevant to them. It is not enough to have a youth policy. Young people must to be involved in the formulation and implementation of the policies that affect them, including through credible, accountable, autonomous and independent youth organizations.
The promotion of the protection of, and respect for, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all young people form the basis of our national youth policy. It is of utmost importance that human rights be implemented and safeguarded in order to improve young peoples lives as well as ensure their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
With regard to the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth, the Portuguese Government, together with the National Youth Council, has developed developing a series of activities and projects aimed at the Programmes implementation. We held a seminar on Young people and sexuality, whose conclusions reiterated the importance and urgency of campaigns to inform young people about sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS, as well as unplanned pregnancy.
We have recently relaunched our ”Different but equal” campaign, which addresses the problems of [*2*] xenophobia, racism and cultural and gender discrimination.
Sustainable development is also a key issue for us. We have published a book on the topic that has been distributed in schools throughout the country and has been made available to all youth institutions. That book will serve as a tool to raise the awareness of, and sensitize Portuguese youth to, that issue.
The Portuguese youth policy takes a crosssectoral approach and encompasses important areas affecting young peoples lives. In recent years, the Portuguese Government, in close cooperation with the National Youth Council, supported the holding of significant international youth meetings, particularly the World Youth Festival; the first World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, which issued the Lisbon Declaration; the Community of Portuguesespeaking Countries Youth Conference; and the most recent consultative meeting on the 10-year review of the World Programme of Action for Youth, held at Coimbra last January, which issued a number of recommendations on the Programme of Action.
During the Coimbra meeting, we had the opportunity, for the first time, to engage in a genuine exchange of views between United Nations agencies and youth organizations on the implementation of the Programme.
At the international level, our National Youth Council has been cooperating with the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries on two objectives. The first relates to the mobility of young Portuguese speakers, and the second is a project aimed at informing, warning and educating young people about HIV/AIDS.
We have done a great deal over the past 10 years to promote and implement the World Programme of Action, but much more must be done. We will continue to do our share to achieve the goals that are our common responsibility.
The participation of young people in decisionmaking processes is one of the key priority areas of the United Nations agenda on youth. We therefore urge national Governments to continue to include youth representatives in their national delegations to important international events, including sessions of the General Assembly and of the Commission for Social Development.
Youth representatives can take home to their respective countries knowledge that can then be transmitted to other young people, thereby creating an opportunity to motivate increasing numbers of young people to become involved in the shaping of their future.
Youth representatives can also make significant inputs to discussions held in the context of various institutions. We will continue our work and remain committed to working with international institutions.
We are cooperating with, among others, the European Youth Forum. We reaffirm the commitments we have undertaken in the context of the World Programme of Action for Youth and its five priorities. We remain committed to the Millennium Development Goals, and we ask the United Nations to assist Member States and youth organizations in the implementation of a comprehensive, cross-sectoral youth policy capable of reaching young people everywhere.
Young people must be considered part of the solution, and not a problem.
UN Doc.: A/60/PV.28