Nairobi, Kenya

15 March 2012

Secretary-General's video message for Youth 21 Initiative Meeting, 15-18 March 2012

Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Distinguished guests and youth representatives, Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for joining forces to strengthen our engagement with youth.
There is no more important mission for the 21st century. 
Half the world’s people are under 25 years of age.
Nearly 90 per cent live in developing countries.
Every day, urban areas get younger.  In the next twenty years, as many as 60 per cent of all urban dwellers will be under 18.
We need to listen to all of these voices. 
As the Youth 21 report states, there have been many good statements on youth policy.  But, too often, those initiatives have stayed on paper.
We cannot let that happen this time. 
Young women and men want decent jobs.  They want dignity.  They want a greater say in their own destiny. 
We must support them.  And for that, we must step up our efforts.
We need programs and policies that work with and for young people. 
We need to mobilize coalitions for action. 
We need to bridge coordination gaps. 
That is why I will appoint the first-ever United Nations Special Advisor on Youth. 
My vision is clear:  The priorities of youth should be just as prominent in our halls as they are on the streets and squares. 
They should be just as present in our meeting space as they are in cyberspace.
Thank you once again for your commitment.  I look forward to your recommendations. 
Together, let us pull the UN system together so that it is pulling for the world’s youth.