Delegate: Ms. Meena
Ms. Meena (United Republic of Tanzania): I am honoured to read a statement on behalf of the young people of the United Republic of Tanzania, and I am grateful that the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for giving us this opportunity to be heard. We also thank the United Nations for giving youth delegates the opportunity to participate and request all Governments to continue to send youth delegates to future United Nations meetings.
Youth constitute almost a third of the total population of the United Republic of Tanzania, and comprise 65 per cent of the labour force. We are thus a force to be reckoned with: we need to be heard in all decision-making processes, and to have youth issues mainstreamed into national development policies, strategies and programmes.
The Government of Tanzania has taken several measures to improve the situation of youth. However, many challenges still remain. Our country is still poor. It is confronted both with a heavy debt burden and a difficult struggle against diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria that affect a large segment of the youth population. Assisting the capacity of the Government to implement the Millennium Development Goals and the World Programme of Action on Youth is, in the end, to support our youth.
The majority of my fellow young people live in rural areas. Addressing the inequities and imbalances in development opportunities between rural and urban areas has to be given priority in order to curb the problem of rural-to-urban immigration. In view of a growing trend in this area, we are observing rapid growth in the urban informal sector and an increase in the incidence of hazardous employment and crime.
Productive and decent work for young people has to be addressed as a strategy in poverty reduction and sustainable development. There is thus also a need to foster day-to-day growth of the informal sector through entrepreneurship development, infrastructure development and provision of capital.
We agree with the observation that globalization creates both opportunities and challenges. We need to be able to enhance our effective participation as well as increase our capacities to take advantage of opportunities in the national and global economies. If the quality of education in our countries is not improved and the digital divide not bridged, youth in the developing countries will continue to be spectators and will remain excluded from the economy.
As young people, we recognize that we too have responsibilities to be good citizens, to respect the rule of law in our societies and to contribute to the welfare of our communities. It is important for us to be organized and strive to participate fully in the social, economic, cultural and political life of our nations. To do so, we need mentoring and support.
I wish to conclude by stating that political will and commitment at the highest level nationally and internationally are of primary importance in creating an enabling environment for youth empowerment. We urge our societies and Governments to consider us as assets, not as problems. Please give us space and opportunities.
UN Doc.: A/60/PV.28