Statement by the German Youth Delegation at the Youth Summit of the General Assembly

Jul 26, 2011

(as delivered  - in their own capacity)

Distinguished Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, Excellencies, honourable delegates, dear fellow youth delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

I have the honour to speak to you today as one of the two official Youth Delegates to the UN. I will present to you two crucial points proclaimed by the Youth living in Germany: Firstly, full and effective youth participation and, secondly, the issue of migration and youth on the international agenda.

Over the past months my colleague and I have travelled thousands of kilometres all over the country to meet young people of various backgrounds. Many productive dialogues and discussions enabled us to collect their visions, thoughts and claims. Although dialogue is one major topic of the International Year of Youth, we regret that the framework of this year was not used to its fullest potential regarding its long-term impact. This High Level Meeting is yet another meeting just about youth issues. So the question remains: where young people really included in negotiation and decision making?

Focusing on the best interest of youth, as mentioned in the outcome document, politicians have to involve young people as equal partners and key stakeholders on all levels. Therefore, youth participation means going beyond dialogue. It is the involvement of youth in the entire decision-making process, beginning with defining the relevant issues and ending with the implementation and evaluation of policies.

As a suitable instrument I want to mention the productive process of the so-called structured dialogue.  This initiative was launched within the renewed framework for European co-operation in the youth field. Clear indicators help young people to make sure that the agreements between them and the policy makers are followed up and monitored afterwards. However, measurable indicators are still missing in the framework of the World Program of Action for Youth and should therefore be integrated.

One could also say that democracy is learning by doing. Participation, for example, starts in schools by nominating class representatives, in youth-led organizations, by being in charge. Germany supports such structures by fostering sustainable initiatives of local, regional and the national youth council. Also national youth delegate programs to the UN are an approved way to involve young people. I therefore urge all states, which have not yet done so, to start such programs.

Young people worldwide share a common potential, the creativity and power to contribute to their societies. The biggest resource we have in this world are the developing skills of the youth. Mobility for education and employment has therefore become essential for their capacity-building. Nevertheless, for other young people migration can also be a result of desperation, as seen in eastern Africa right now. For that reason we urge member states to integrate the issue of migration and youth with all its subtleties into the negotiations process of the UN. Giving young people the possibility to take over responsibility for themselves and others, to empower them and to let them participate is not just an investment - it is a value in itself.

Thank you

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