Delegate: Ms. Hulmanova
72. Ms. Hulmanova (Slovakia), speaking as a youth delegate, said that while youth was a time of great expectations and personal development, harsh reality meant that young people in many regions afflicted by such problems as conflict, poverty or inadequate health care were struggling just to survive, leaving little room for optimism about the future. It was essential to make youth partners in efforts to meet their needs and develop their potential, for example by providing them with educational and employment opportunities or increasing the disappointingly low number of youth delegates at the General Assembly.
73. Young people could be serious partners with Governments; in Bratislava for example a youth programme to match young job-seekers and businesses had become an effective instrument to promote dialogue between those two groups and increase employment. Other projects offered free training in ethical business practices. Unemployment figures, especially in developing countries, often failed to account for the large numbers of young people forced to turn to informal, low-paying and often hazardous employment. That was especially grave because decent work provided young people with an opportunity to develop, acquire self-confidence and maximize their potential and their contribution to society.
74. Unemployment had devastating consequences for youth, their families and their communities. Unless the MDG target of developing and implementing strategies for decent and productive work for youth was achieved, a new generation would grow up feeling it had no stake in society. Strategies in that regard must be comprehensive and prepare young people for the labour market as well as prepare the labour market for young people; they also required adequate funding. Education must be more closely linked to the needs of the labour market and greater attention paid to the important role that could be played by non-formal education.
75. Young people had proven themselves to be valuable development partners. Investing in them was one of the best possible decisions for the future. Harnessing their potential would lead to a new wave of [*11*] participation and creativity and facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/64/SR.2