Desai Urges Youth to Come to Johannesburg and Make a Difference
|| New York, 12 AugustYouth representatives will have a chance to make
a major contribution at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in
Johannesburg later this month, according to Summit Secretary-General Nitin
Desai, and will have a seat at the meetings that shape action as well as the
roundtables with Heads of State and Government.
With the focus of this year's International Youth Day on sustainable
development, Desai told an audience in New York that youth are far more willing
to show a personal commitment to sustainable development than others since
"they will live in the future. They have to worry."
"One of the reasons," Desai said, "why we are not getting what
we want is due to very short-term political thinking over long-term
considerations. This is one area where youth groups can come in with strong
convictions, not theoretical, to demand that action must be taken. Youth can
make a very powerful contribution here."
Noting that youth groups had already been involved in the preparations for
Johannesburg, and have held extensive preparations of their own, Desai called
on the youth representatives to "come to Johannesburg and make a
Desai said that youth could play an especially big role on the cutting edge of
sustainable development, which is at the local level, where largely abstract
policy formulations are boiled down to the point where people are forced to
take certain decisions.
Youth are well placed to make a difference in Johannesburg, as Ghazal
Badiozamani, from the Summit Secretariat, said 40 countries will have youth
representatives on their delegations.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his message for the
commemoration, said the engagement of young people "is crucial" to
the preparation and the follow-up to the Summit.
"While it is the responsibility of governments to ensure these commitments
are translated into action, they cannot do it alone. They need to be spurred on
by the voices of people everywhere. That is where young people come in. Just as
youth have been active in the preparations for the Johannesburg Summit, so must
they remain active in the follow-up, and keep making their voices heard as the
main stakeholders in our planet's future."
This is the third year that International Youth Day will be observed, and the
theme for the Day is "Now and for the Future: Youth Action for Sustainable
Development." Youth--defined by the United Nations as the age group
between 15 and 24 years old -- make up one sixth of the world's population. The
majority of these young men and women live in developing countries, and their
numbers are expected to rise steeply into the twenty-first century.
Since the 1992 Earth Summit, youth have been recognized as a major group in all
sustainable development conferences. The Rio Conference found that "The
creativity, ideals and courage of the youth of the world should be mobilized to
forge a global partnership in order to achieve sustainable development and
ensure a better future for all."
Copyright © United
Department of Economic and
Comments and suggestions
24 August 2006