Delegates: Ms. Thong-Iam, Mr. Tongintee
22. Ms. Thong-Iam (Thailand), speaking as a youth delegate, said that equal opportunities and inclusivity were essential to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. While all of the Goals were important, equitable access to health care and inclusive education for all should be top priorities. Thailand had achieved universal health care, but achieving it worldwide remained a multifaceted challenge: countries must provide high quality care, ensure adequate disease prevention, find sustainable means of financing health care and provide for those at most risk of being left behind. For instance, although suicide was the second leading cause of death of children and adolescents, it was a low public health priority. Young people could play an important role by equipping themselves with the knowledge of how to prevent mental illnesses, and by promoting the adoption of healthy lifestyles by their families, peers and communities.
23. Mr. Tongintee (Thailand), speaking as a youth delegate, said that inequalities in education harmed marginalized groups around the world. Persons with disabilities, children in rural areas, migrant children, adolescent mothers and elderly people, to name a few such groups, must receive special attention to ensure that they had educational opportunities on an equal footing with others. In cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Thai Government had established the Equitable Education Fund to support the inclusion of disadvantaged children. It had also implemented a programme to provide Internet access to more than 25,000 rural villages and promote distance learning. Education should not be limited to classrooms, nor should it focus only on preparing young people for the labour market: it must prepare everyone to become active, productive members of society. Young people were determined to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and build a better world. As a digital generation, they would harness the potential of technology for quality education and better health outcomes for all. For them to make their enormous contribution, however, they must be included.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/74/SR.4