Closing speech by the Chairperson of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth,
His Excellency the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister, José Socrates

12/08/1998

Distinguished Special Representative of His Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Distinguished Secretary-General of the Conference
Distinguished Ministers
Distinguished Ambassadors
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen

Five days after the opening of this Conference, over which I had the honour and pleasure of presiding, we are about to close a meeting which I hope has fully lived up to the expectations of us all. We saw in this occasion an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen the ties between young people and between those who, in their countries, have the power of decision over youth policies. We now have the feeling that our expectations were not in vain.

We have had the opportunity to share experiences, to listen to committed voices, to feel that the problems that concern us are basically the same, to be moved by dramatic reports of countries where young people’s daily lives are plagued with uncertainty.

But, above all, we have had the opportunity to observe a clear political desire that the young people of the 21st century should, themselves, be players in a process that concerns them so deeply and be able to promote and integrate their legitimate hopes and ideals in the fields we have talked of so much here, like the environment, education, employment, health, the fight against substance abuse, human rights, etc.

The Final Declaration we have just approved - I am pleased to say, by consensus - is a decisive step in the pursuance of the United Nations World Programme of Action for Youth to the year 2000 and beyond.

But we all know that this is not enough.
As someone once said, if the words to save the world have all been said, the important thing now is to save it.

It is necessary for all of us - states, agencies, youth organisations - to work together to put into practice the wealth of commitments that we have just conceived.

This is when our work begins. If all the ideas have been set out, if our strategy has now been clarified and approved, the important thing now is to implement it.

I would ask you, Mr Civili, to convey to His Excellency the Secretary-General, and the whole United Nations system, our appreciation and heartfelt gratitude for the work done throughout this process. The World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth was, indeed, the result of close cooperation between Portugal and the United Nations.

Finally, I would like to thank you for your presence here in Lisbon, for your work, your patience and your help, without which it would not have been possible for this Conference to be the success that we all recognise.

|Thank you very much and goodbye.

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