Delegate: Maja Rüegg
71. Ms. Rüegg (Switzerland), speaking as the youth representative, said that access to employment was a key aspect of social integration, yet nearly half of the unemployed throughout the world were young people. [*10*] At the individual level, young people without work lost their self-confidence and ran the risk of becoming socially isolated. At the collective level, unemployment generated high economic costs and exacerbated inequalities, while youth unemployment even affected social cohesion, security and peace. Young unemployed people became despondent and could be tempted by extremism. She called on Governments of all countries, together with the private sector and civil society, to give priority to policies targeting young people.
72. The level of youth unemployment in Switzerland, while relatively low by international standards, needed to be resolved. Greater attention must be given to the needs of young people with a migrant background. The fact that many of Switzerland’s youth were on the whole well-off encouraged them to participate in the struggle for more solidarity, not only between generations but also between countries. The world could not afford a situation where young people, who made up half the population, were mere bystanders. Young people were not just a social group but a key partner in the elimination of poverty, the management of migration, the promotion of human rights and the maintenance of peace and security. The youth perspective should be integrated into all aspects of the work of the United Nations.
73. Although several countries had responded to repeated calls to include representatives of young people in their delegations to the General Assembly and to other permanent meetings of the United Nations, at the current session of the General Assembly less than 10 per cent of Member States had included youth representatives in their delegations. It was not enough to ask young people to express their views once every 10 years. Young people wished to participate now and they asked for the trust and support of the international community so that they could become real partners in decision-making.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/61/SR.1