Colombo, Sri Lanka

6 May 2014

Message to World Conference on Youth 2014 [ Delivered by Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth]

I am pleased to convey my greetings to all those gathered for the World Conference on Youth 2014.   I thank the Government of Sri Lanka for hosting this gathering and I commend all the young people who worked hard to organize it. I would also like to acknowledge the UN country Team in Sri Lanka for providing substantive support to the conference.

I am delighted that you have gathered forces to explore ideas for the post-2015 development agenda. This is a critical time.  We are working closely with Member States, civil society, academia, the private sector, the media and people like you – the next generation of global leaders – to develop a blueprint for people and planet, for the future we want.

It is vital that we draw from the energy and initiative of young people.  You can bring fresh perspectives to advance peace, development and human rights around the world.

The needs and demands of youth are one of my top priorities.  I appointed the first-ever Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and I have urged that UN decision-making on all issues incorporate the needs and concerns of young people.

Your generation is entering adulthood at a time of both unprecedented opportunity and uncertainty with high unemployment, changing workplaces, and evolving social, political and economic challenges.  Expectations are rightly high, and we can only meet them by working together for broadly shared prosperity and a life of dignity for all.

I encourage you to continue to raise your voices loud and clear so that they are heard not just at the conference, but in your communities around the world.  Thank you once again for sharing your passion and commitment for a better world.  Best wishes for a successful event.