|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
PRESS CONFERENCE ON ‘WORLD YOUTH REPORT 2005: YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY AND IN 2015’
Some 300 representatives of youth organizations and 48 youth delegates were present at the United Nations this week for activities, including two plenary sessions of the General Assembly, that would highlight critical youth issues, said Johan Schölvinck, Director of Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic Affairs, as he introduced World Youth Report 2005: Young People Today and in 2015 at a Headquarters press conference this afternoon.
He said the programme of action in the report consisted of 15 priority areas identified by the General Assembly, ranging from employment to armed conflict. The report was organized into three parts -- Youth in the Global Economy, Youth in Civil Society and Youth at Risk.
Turning to the first part of the Report, he said that the current generation was better educated than ever before, yet at the same time, 130 million young people were illiterate, and youth unemployment was higher than ever before. One fifth of young people today lived on less than a dollar a day and almost half of today’s youth lived on less than two dollars a day. It was essential to start investing in childhood and, even more important, in adolescence, as this was the age when anti-poverty interventions had their greatest impact, he said.
Young people were too often excluded from the decision-making process, he continued, and it was crucial for young people to be participants in their own future. There was an urgent need for indicators to measure youth development, he said. At this point in time, a resolution on such indicators was under negotiation and a United Nations inter-agency group to develop these indicators would be established.
Highlighting the second part of the Report, he remarked that the global media was increasingly influencing youth culture. Youth today had a greater awareness of technology and this awareness could help them to interact with older generations. Media produced by and for young people should be encouraged and supported, he said, and access to the Internet should be increased for young people in developing countries.
Examining the findings of part three of the Report, he pointed out that although youth were most often the victims of armed conflict, more attention should be paid to their role in peacebuilding and peacekeeping operations. Furthermore, when discussing children in armed conflict, attention should not be focused solely on child soldiers, but also on youth as heads of households, as victims of sexual violence, and as peacebuilders. Youth and gender-focused action plans should be developed to implement, monitor and evaluate the guidelines adopted for the protection of war-affected populations, he said, and young women and men should join forces and develop integrated approaches to overcoming gender and youth inequalities.
Also attending the press conference was Nguyen Hong Nhung, freelance journalist and youth representative from Viet Nam, who stressed the importance of mobilizing youth worldwide to help realize the Millennium Development Goals. This week in her country, the Viet Nam Youth Law was being finalized and youth in Viet Nam would have the opportunity to raise their voices, she said. This was a time for youth to be active in every field. She said that after this fruitful trip to New York, she hoped to return to Viet Nam and introduce the findings of the Report to the youth of her country.
Asked if the Vietnamese youth law would make it easier for young delegates to represent Viet Nam’s youth at the United Nations next year, she responded that many youth in her country were hoping to visit United Nations to represent their country, and to raise their concerns and interests; she hoped that the opportunities to do so would increase.
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