From UN News Centre
Involvement of all sections of the society, in particular its young people, in bottom-up peace building approaches is vital to ensure sustainable social justice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today at a youth event in Sri Lanka.
“Why should young people be sent off to fight wars, but be prevented from building peace?” Mr. Ban said in his remarks at the event, which had the theme of “Reconciliation and Coexistence: Role of Youth.’
He added that the exclusion of young people from peacebuilding and reconciliation processes is “one of the most serious injustices” and that it has to be corrected.
The Secretary-General flagged that youth played a critical role in designing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was agreed and adopted by world leaders last year, along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the latter serving as a global plan for people, peace, prosperity and the planet.
“Many of the Goals focus on priority areas for young people: quality education, empowering women and girls, and ensuring decent work for all,” said Mr. Ban, calling on the young people “to lead the way.”
Referring to Sri Lanka as a major contributor to the youth agenda globally – such as with its hosting of the 2014 World Conference on Youth – the UN chief highlighted that, at the national level, it is important to continue to increase investment in the young women and men who make up one fifth of the country’s population.
“You are your country’s biggest asset. Sri Lanka’s future success depends on you,” he said.