Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 5 August 2013 - Secretary-General's opening remarks to Global Interactive Dialogue on UN Youth Initiatives [as prepared for delivery]

Welcome to the United Nations.

It is wonderful to be with you today

Working with and for young people is a priority in my Five-year Action Plan.

Your generation is the largest the world has ever known.

The tools at your disposal for communicating and acting are unprecedented.

But so are the challenges – from growing inequalities and shrinking opportunities, to the threats of climate change and environmental degradation.

The United Nations is working to shape a vision for addressing the global challenge of sustainable development in the future.

We surveyed thousands of youth from many different countries.

The message is clear.

You want more and better job opportunities, a good education, access to affordable quality health care, responsive and honest governments, and increased efforts to tackle climate change.

You have many concerns – and many ideas -- that we need to hear.

We want to hear.

That is why I have appointed an Envoy on Youth.

Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi is working with different UN entities, Governments, civil society, academia and the media to empower youth within and outside the UN system.

Today, he will launch his website which will serve as the UN Online Platform for Youth. 

He is also working with the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development to bring all parts of the UN together under an action plan for youth.

The Plan focuses on five thematic areas: employment and entrepreneurship, political inclusion, civic engagement and protection of rights, education, including comprehensive sexuality education, and health.

For the first time ever, the UN system will have a common strategy for youth development.

Other initiatives include a UN youth volunteers programme and the establishment of Youth Advisory Boards to UN Country Offices.

Also, as announced in March during the ECOSOC Youth Forum, we will work with the Economic and Social Council to facilitate forums so youth can engage with the UN at the national, regional and global level.

I am fully committed to working with youth and exploring how you can contribute more to creating a sustainable, equitable future of opportunity and dignity for all.

I look forward to hearing your views and answering your questions.

Thank you.