NEW YORK, 6 OCTOBER 2005
STATEMENT BY Ms. CARLA MOURO, PORTUGUESE YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE, TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS’ PLENARY MEETING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORLD PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR YOUTH
TO THE YEAR 2000 AND BEYOND
Distinguished delegates, youth representatives, ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Portuguese Government I am delighted to represent the Portuguese youth at this special session of the General Assembly dedicated to Youth.
I would like to ally myself with the statement made by the UK Youth representative on behalf of the European Union.
During the last years, work has been done in order to reaffirm youth policies, particularly taking into account objectives previously underlined by the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY), including the Millennium Development Goals.
As citizens of the world, we feel a growing need to express our ideas and feelings, and to create the necessary conditions for youth participation in society.
At the Portuguese National Youth council’s (CNJ), we work to defend young people’s interests and to contribute to improve their living conditions.
We believe that we need more than recognition that Youth is an important social group. Young people should be provided with the right to participate and state their points of view on every aspect of society relevant to them.
In brief, having a youth policy is not enough.
Young people actually should be involved in formulating and implementing policies that affect them, namely through credible and accountable youth organizations that are autonomous and independent and have the necessary conditions to develop their work and their input into policy-making.
The promotion, protection and respect for all Human Rights and fundamental freedoms for all young people, are the basis for our national youth policies. It is of utmost importance that Human Rights are implemented and safeguarded in order to improve young people’s lives, being civil, political, economic, social or cultural rights.
In what concerns the implementation of the WPAY, the Portuguese Government, together with National Youth Council, has been developing a series of activities and projects aiming at the implementation of the programme.
We organized a Seminar on “Young people and sexuality”, where once again was concluded how important and urgent it is to work on campaigns to inform young people about sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/Aids, as well as undesired pregnancy.
We are currently re-launching the “All different all equal campaign”, in partnership with the Portuguese Government, the European Youth Forum and the Council of Europe. This campaign aims to address the problematic of xenophobia, racism, cultural and gender discrimination.
Sustainable development is also a key issue for us. We have published a book about “Sustainable Development” which was distributed in schools around the country and was also made available to all youth institutions. This book will serve as a tool to raise awareness and sensitize Portuguese young people to this topic.
The Portuguese youth policy has a cross-sectorial approach covering relevant areas touching young people lives and the National Youth Council, and other youth organizations, have been an active part of this process. Also throughout the years the Portuguese Government, in close cooperation with the National Youth Council has supported the organization of significant international youth meetings, particularly the World Youth Festival (Costa da Caparica 1998); The First Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth, which originated the Lisbon Declaration (1998); The Conference of Youth of the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (Lisbon 1998); and the last Consultative Meeting on the 10 Year Review of the World Programme of Action for Youth, which took place in Coimbra last January, that included several recommendations on the WPAY.
Together with the Portuguese Government, the National Youth Council proudly hosted the
meeting. For the first time, we had the opportunity to have a real exchange of views between UN agencies and youth organizations on the implementation of the WPAY. Coimbra
On the International level, our National Youth Council has been cooperating with the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP). In this regards, we have created a Mobility Plan (João Augusto Médicis) that will give Portuguese speaking students an opportunity to develop their skills so that they can be more competitive in the labor market aiming the reduction of youth unemployment in the Portuguese speaking countries.
At the moment, we have two other projects within the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community Youth Forum regarding mobility between the Portuguese youth community and one project to be implemented throughout the Portuguese speaking countries, in order to prevent, inform and educate young people regarding HIV/Aids.
We have done a lot in the last 10 years to promote and implement the WPAY but much more is needed and we are willing to continue to do our share to achieve the goals that are our common responsibility.
The full participation of young people in decision-making processes is one of the key priority areas of the UN's agenda on youth. Therefore, we urge the national governments to continue including youth representatives in their national delegations attending relevant events at the international level, namely the UN General Assembly and the Commission for Social Development. Youth Delegates can bring back home precious knowledge which would be transmitted to other young people and create an opportunity to motivate more and more young people to engage and be active in the shaping of our common future. At the same time, youth delegates can also bring an incredible input to the discussions that are being held in the different institutions.
We will continue our work and we will continue our engagement in the international institutions we cooperate with, namely by maintaining our link to the European Youth Forum.
We reaffirm our commitment towards the World Programme of Action for Youth, and its five new priorities, we express our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and we ask the United Nations System to assist member states and youth organizations in the implementation of a global and cross-sectorial youth policy capable of reaching young people everywhere.
Young people must be considered part of the solution and not a problem.
I wish you all the very best,
Thank you for your attention.