2016 United Nations Summer Youth Assembly

Statement by H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft,  President of the 70th session of the General Assembly at 2016 Summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations 

10 August 2016


Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to UN headquarters and to the home of the UN General Assembly.


Last September, leaders from all 193 UN member states were seated where you are seated today.


They came here to unite around a revolutionary plan to transform our world for the better.


Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the case for transformation has grown even stronger; the need for action even more urgent.


With the largest youth population ever of 1.2 billion, youth are often in the front line of the world’s challenges.


Some 65million adolescents – 1 out of 6 – are not in school.


More than 2.6 million young people die each year in the world, mostly due to preventable causes.


90% of all casualties in direct conflicts occur among young adult males.


Some 50% of the 1.4 billion people living in countries impacted by crises and fragility are under the age of 20.


Over 73 million young people are unemployed globally, with young women more likely to be underemployed and under-paid.


But as you are faced with these challenges in your daily life, you are also best placed to address them.


And this is the mission of the Youth Assembly and why you are here today: “To empower youth to achieve sustainable development on the individual, local, and global levels.”


The 2030 Agenda, together with the Paris Climate Agreement, provides you with a plan for how to respond to these challenges.


It is the single greatest framework we have to strike out for a better future – to deliver globalization that benefits all people; to transition to economies that are low-carbon and climate resilient; and to foster societies that guarantee peace, gender equality, justice and freedom for all.


Now, however, is the time to move from commitment to action.


It is of course national governments that have the main responsibility of implementing the 2030 Agenda.


But as has been said time and again, the transformation this Agenda demands, cannot be done by governments alone.


They will need the support, encouragement and push from all stakeholders and they will need the energy and the ideals of young people in particular.


I therefore encourage all young people to get involved, play your part, help us create a better future for all – for people and for planet alike.


The 2016 Youth Assembly gives you the opportunity to make your voices heard.


I wish you a fruitful and action-oriented discussion over the next three days.


Thank you.

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