UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

94-09-07: Statement of Int. NGO Youth Consultation


The electronic preparation of this document has been done by the

Population Information Network(POPIN) of the United Nations Population

Division in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme




International NGO Youth Consultation on

Population and Development

31 August - 4 Septumber 1994 Cairo, Egypt

We, more than 100 young women and men from all regions of the world from

a diversity of cultural,  religious and political backgrounds, have been

actively participating in an International NGO Youth  Consultation on

Population and Development. This youth consultation was a collaborative

NGO  initiative organized by International Federation of Red Cross and

Red Crescent Societies (IFRC),  International Planned Parenthood

Federation (IPPF), International Youth and Student Movement for  the

United Nations (ISMUN), Society for International Development (SID),

World Assembly of Youth  (WAY), World Association of Girl Guides and

Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), World Council of Churches  (WCC), World

Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and World Young Women's

Christian  Association (WYWCA).

  We believe that young people are agents of change. "Young people make

up most of the world.  More than half of the' world's population is

below the age of 25. About a third are between the ages  of 10 and 24,

of whom eighty per cent live in developing countries of the world."

These were the  words of Nafis Sadik who opened our youth consultation.

It is clear that youth are and can be the  present actors and leaders in

our societies as, well as those of the future. We recognize the

importance of population and development concerns as they are the issues

affecting our daily lives.  These issues are central to our commitment,

sense of responsibility and action to affect change in  the world,

believing that they are inextricably linked together with the issues of

international  economic inequity between the, countries of the North and

those of the South.

Throughout the course of our debates we found that we shared three

central priorities:

- The need for population concerns to be explicitly and consistently

integrated with development in  the context of a just and equitable

international economic system;

- A strong focus on the need for youth education and mobilization in

the areas of adolescent health, sexual and reproductive health, the

environment, human rights, and political and economic systems;

- A sense that now is the time for action: an expression of our strong

commitment to take  responsibility to act at the individual,

organizational, national and international levels.

  Population growth is an important factor that must be addressed in

order to achieve sustainable  development and quality of life. The rate

at which we add members to our families and communities  has an impact

on our ability to meet their needs for survival and healthy development.

Rapid  population growth strains available caring, food, shelter and

social services and leaves child e  vulnerable to "malnutrition,

disease...labor exploitation, trafficking, neglect, sexual abuse and

drug  addiction" (ICPD Program for Action, 6.6).

  In many cases, the resources available to children are already

diminished by economic injustices  within and between countries. Efforts

to manage population growth must take place along-side  measures to

bring about equitable distribution of wealth. Over-consumption in more-

developed  countries, exploitative "development" policies and practices,

unfair terms of trade and corruption all  contribute to the gap in

living standards between more and less-developed countries. In many

countries, including more and less-developed, marginalized people who

live well below the average  standard of living and have fewer resources

to invest in their children's and youth's development.

  Poverty also damages the environment and in this way further weakens

the possibility for  sustainable development. Economically disadvantaged

people have less access to information  about environmentally-friendly

lifestyles and are often forced by immediate needs to consume  natural

resources in an unsustainable manner. This, coupled with the

overconsnmption and waste of  the more-developed countries, deepens

poverty and reduces the resources that will be available to  future

generations. For this reason, long-term success in improving quality of

life through managing  population growth i8 interdependent with the

success of environmental protection.

  Education allows individuals to weigh options and make better

decisions for living our lives.  Education is a lifelong process and we

learn primarily through daily living from those around us. We  recognize

the different influences of our families, our communities and the public

at large in shaping  our thoughts and behaviors. During our discussions

we were reminded that this education takes  different forms in differing

cultures and that successful education i8 linked with variable


  Environmental education serves to gain a better understanding of our

physical environment and the  consequences of our action on it.

  Young people need education on human rights and political and economic

systems in order to  conceive new and improved mechanisms for social

development. We are committed to create a  world where human rights of

all people are respected regardless of age, gender, religion, race,

abilities, health, ethnic background, sexual orientation, and

educational and economic status and a   world where we have the right to

live in global, national, local and individual peace.

  Adolescence is the period of physical, psychological and social

maturation from childhood to  adulthood. Education of adolescents

promotes and enhances harmonious and healthy relationships.  Education

and services which facilitate individual safe sexual behavior does not

encourage  promiscuity. On the contrary, it helps us to respect the

integrity of our body and our lives and  encourages U8 to have a better

understanding of our responsibilities.

  We acknowledge the grave consequences of our sexual behavior in our

lives and the lives of our  family and communities and the need to be

able to take precautions. Particular attention is required  to assist

men in taking their responsibilities which would go far in promoting

mutual respect as the  basis for equality between men and women.

  Teenage pregnancy was recognized as an issue of importance and

concern. Education for  pregnancy prevention is vital as it is support

for teenage mothers, especially in regard to continuing  their

education. Expressing concern at the degree of maternal deaths as a

result of unsafe abortion,  and recognizing the existence of cultural

and religious differences and the importance of respecting  these

traditions, we believe that both illegal and legal abortions should be

monitored for their safety  without encouraging recourse to abortion.


The need to mobilize youth as agents of change was a recurring theme in

the Consultation. This is  also supported in the ICPD Programme for

Action: "Youth should be active in the planning,  implementation and

evaluation of development activities that have a direct impact on their

daily  lives" (6.15). Many youth around the world have taken leadership

in meeting needs related to  population and development. Their

commitment and expertise must be recognized and resources  allocated in

order to strengthen and expand their initiatives to more of the youth

population. -

  During the Consultation, we -shared among ourselves many examples of

successful youth-led  ventures. While individual actions generally

address specific needs, the models for youth action are  often

transferable from one issue to another. For example, peer education and

counseling  techniques can be adapted to a wide variety of issues. We

commit ourselves to continuing to take  action to meet needs related to

population and development and to enable other youth to join us in  our

activities. The types of action we commit ourselves to include:

- Promoting peer education through workshops and seminars; and through

vocational, leadership and  organizational   training;

- Involving, motivating and educing peers through artistic activities

such as music and drama;

- Implementing peer counseling and awareness-raising through one-on-one

interaction, group discussions, newsletters, newspaper columns and -

radio programs;

- Organizing services for peers in schools and recreation centers as

well as outreach to peers on the street and other non-traditional


-Creating jobs for peers through cooperatives and businesses;

- Educating parents and other members of the community;

- Lobbying local, national and regional governments and businesses,

banks, the media and inter-governmental structures;

- Organizing public demonstrations;

- Creating networks of interpersonal support, information sharing,

cooperation and  inter-organizational   collaboration.

 Youth/NGO Action

 Sustainable Development and Population

1. Teach youth appropriate methods of agriculture and sustainable

resource and waste  management.

2. Educate businesses about environmental problems.

3. NGOs and citizens should insist on honest governments that reduce

inequalities between rich  and poor.

4. Youth-serving NGOs should help identify the needs of the youth and

suggest solutions to  governments through lobbying.

5. NGOs should lobby governments to respect and make full commitment to

the implementation of  Agenda 21, invest in recycling and renewable

energy source) and develop waste management  projects.

   Human Rights and Population

1. Stage local dialogue meetings to empower youth.

2. Youth-serving NGOs should initiate and participate in human rights

education campaigns.

3. Lobby for governments and NGOs to implement human rights and human

rights programs.

4. NGOs should organize mass education campaigns against discrimination

and to make people  more aware of their rights.

5. Youth-serving NGOs should develop and promote youth friendly media

programs to educate,  inform and communicate the social and economic

rights and responsibilities of young people as  well as encourage the

youth especially those in developing countries to consume goods produced

locally in their respective countries.

6. Youth NGOs should form a coalition for advocacy on youth concerns as

well as educate the  youth on their political, civil, social and

economic rights and responsibilities.

 Human Development and Reproductive Health

1. As members of youth-serving NGOs we are committed to pressure our

organizations to be  models for the  empowerment of women We are

committed to arresting o11 forms of sexual;  discrimination, violence

against women, such as female genital mutilation through advocacy and

community awareness work.

2. We, as a diverse group of youth reached an agreement on the

importance of family planning and  reproductive health as issues related

to population and development and integral to the promotion of  a

healthy life for all persons and communities, particularly in the light

of the growing spread of AIDS  and STDs

International Conference on Population and Development Action

Sustainable Development and Population

1. ICPD should bring to the forefront of the international community the

adverse socio-economic  impact of unjust terms of trade, North-South

economic relations, debt crisis, structural adjustments  programs, etc.,

on people of less developed countries and encourage creditor nations and

institutions to cancel debt-servicing as well as reduce debts and should

ensure the achievement of  those actions within the targeted twenty


Human Rights and Population

1. The Draft Program of Action emphasizes youth needs and youth rights

to information, education,  survival, association, speech,

contraception, etc.(6.7). We ask that this commitment be  ,strengthened

and that governments must implement this. We believe, however, that

youth are  more than targets of development but must be considered

partners, active participants and leaders  in the development process.

Governments' and NGOs' Joint Action

Sustainable Development and Population

1. Governments and NGOs should identify, advocate for and meet the needs

of youth by: providing  education, health services and cultural

activities, and creating jobs in rural areas and for urban  youth


 2. Governments and NGOs should ensure sustainable management of the

environment and take  strong measures against people and organizations

who-cause environmental degradation.  '

 3. Governments and NGOs should call for cancellation of debt or

reduction in debt-servicing and  educate people about unfair trade and

structural adjustment programs that make sustainable  development

unattainable in less-developed countries.

 4. Development policies and practices should enable governments in less

developed countries to  enhance human resources and create appropriate

industries, infrastructures and social services. ,

 5. Governments and NGOs should ensure sustainable management of the

environment and take  strong measures against individuals or groups of

indviduals and corporations who cause  environmental degradation.

 6. Governments and NGOs shold ensure that sustainable and appropriate

technological equipment  is used in all projects.

 Governments' Action

  Sustainable Development and Population

1. Governments should enforce reduction in inequalities between rich and

poor people and work  effectively towards poverty alleviation.  J

2. Governments, especially those of developing countries, should enforce

and implement rural  development projects with a view of increasing

social amenities in rural areas as a means of arrest  rural-urban


3. Governments should encourage decentralization of governmental and

administrative structures,  prioritize rural development, promote small

private enterprises and increase exports of value-added  products.

  Human Rights and Population

 1. Governments should continue efforts to pass legislation to put an

end to discrimination.

2. Governments should introduce human rights in school curricula.

3. Governments must not only accept human rights but apply them.

Human Development and Reproductive Health

1. Governments should continue providing family planning and sexuality

education, however  making this a required central theme of health

programs as a pre-condition to funding should not be  abused.

2. Governments should enact laws to prohibit female genital mutilation

and any form of sexual  exploitation and violence.

3. Governments should promote medical and psychological care for women

especially young  women who experience rape, abortion or sexual abuse,

with due respect for religion and culture.

4. Governments should ensure pregnant youth are not expelled and should

be able to continue in  schools of their choice.

UN Agencies'  Action

Human Rights and Population

1. The UN should ensure that governments respect the UN Convention on

the Rights of the Child  and should rule against the enlistment of

"child soldiers" into rebel armies in developing countries  especially


3. The UN should intensify public education of its conventions on human

rights, and criminalization  of all forms of discrimination and violence

against women.


Partnership is not only power-sharing but also mutual respect.

Partnership is benefiting from  strengths of each other. It is

cooperation and tolerance. It is understanding of each others needs,

sharing of ideas and goals. It is integration of efforts and adaptation

to each others' needs.

As Youth and NGOs, we commit ourselves to:

1. Networking with other NGOs and youth-serving NGOs both at regional

levels, national levels (e.g.  creation of national platforms), and at

the international level; and promote forums for NGOs so that  they can

meet and learn about   each other's activities.

2. Creating/updating/translating youth-serving NGO directories.

3 Forming youth-serving NGO pressure groups against abuse/violations of


4. Intensifying exchanges between young people.

5. Youth serving NGOs should form a coalition for advocacy on youth

concerns as well as educate  the youth on their political, civil and

socio-economic rights and   responsibilities.

6. NGOs should be more practical in the field and should count first and

foremost on themselves to  well-manage their own activities.

7. Promote partnerships from our homes and our families.

Governments should commit themselves to:

1. Inter-governmental partnership should be implemented with both

partners involved from the  beginning; develop trust between partners;

respect of autonomy of developing countries; lead and  identified by

developing countries; coordination and networking between projects;

projects must be  sustainable.

2. South-South and North-South partnership.

3. Promote dialogue between religions and societies.

4. Promote AIDS/STD programs.

The United Nations agencies should commit themselves to:

1. Peace with less spent on military and more social spending. ,

2. Speedy democratization of inequitable UN structures such as the

Security Council, the IMF and  the World Bank.

3. Young people's voices must be heard if the UN is to respond to the

changing needs of our world.  This Consultation has shown the importance

of providing a common platform for young people to  express their

concerns and aspirations and to propose action for the future.

4. The 10th Anniversary of the International Year of Youth will be

observed in 1995. The UN must  strengthen its support for youth NGOs and

provide the necessary resources for Youth NGOs to  meet together. This

will enable the UN to demonstrate its commitment to the participation of

young  people in building a more just world for the future.

Our strategies for action encompass the immediate, medium and long-term.

Our priority is for  words to be translated into action.

We have a vision of a world without the factors of economic injustice

and dire social and individual  needs; a world where all live in a

spirit of mutual respect, cooperation, tolerance, peace and justice.

May you remember our words and hear their strength and through them

understand our  commitment and our energy to act.


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