General Assembly: Statement by the German Youth Delegates to the UN

Feb 11, 2013

(General Assembly: Statement as delivered by the German Youth Delegates to the UN)

"Distinguished chair, honorable delegates, honorable youth delegates,

Statistcally the world is getting younger, half of the world’s populaton is younger than 25. In many western countries however, the situaton is different. The number of young people in Germany has been constantly decreasing, and is hence confronted with a growing number of older people. In 25 years we might have the world’s oldest populaton, which is why some fear a “war of the generatons”. Demographic change will have a strong impact on our lives. In this situaton intergeneratonal fairness is key! When talking about cooperaton among the generatons, we rarely seem to address the Youth. We talk about the elderly and what society owes them but we do not talk about what they might owe us! Because we, the young people, have to live with the consequences of the their actons: financial crises, social crises, environmental crises. And this is what makes it so important to give a voice to young people!

Partcipation on par is the way to build bridges between the old and the young, disabled or not, families and singles. It is more important that we look at what we have in common than what divides us. Let us support each other and use our synergies .

One of these bonds between the generatons must be our common care for a sustainable planet. Every generaton’s duty should be to preserve the world in a way that future generations can live at least as good as present generatons do. This means to live a life without being abused as a child soldier, without being victim of genital mutilaton and without living in a society which does not listen to our demands, our woes, a life with the possibility to choose one's own destiny and the right to freely express one’s own opinion. If we want to change our ways, doesn’t it make sense to ask everyone how they imagine the world ought to be? If you ask young people living in Germany, you get a many differing answers, respective of their ways of life. But there is one common denominator in all the answers: It is not only ourselves we are thinking of. We think in a global way thanks to the connected, globalized and virtual world we are growing up in. We think in networks which exist on symbiotic principles; we think it is unfair that many of our equals in other countries cannot get work because of the irresponsible behavior of a few; we care about each other, no matter which part of the world we live in. We cared about Malala, the young Pakistani girl who fought bravely for her rights and we grieved for the young Indian woman, whose rights were heinously violated.

We imagine a world which is based upon economic, social and ecological fairness and empathy for each other. We want to live our dream of a fair, inclusive and equal world, but almost no one is listening. We want to shape our common way, together with everyone. That is why we strongly call for global youth rights, which guarantee genuine partcipaton of young people in all parts of politcal decision-making and universal access to primary and higher educaton, which includes a lifelong learning concept and facilitates non-formal educaton.

We appreciate that Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed his first Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhindawi, as one big step towards more youth partcipaton. We expect an intense and transparent communicaton and cooperation among him and Youth Representatves, Youth Organisatons and all young people living in the member states. A youth adequate website as well as active participaton through social media are the basics which must be accompanied by a strong advocating of the Envoy for youth representatives at all UN levels and organs. It is important to mainstream youth issues within the whole UN system!

With the post 2015 process comes a perfect opportunity to start listening to us, the young people. We therefore call for an actve and fast integration of young people in the post 2015 process, as we are concerned that there is no youth representation in the post 2015 High-Level Panel. We want to stress that there has to be an obvious holistic approach regarding the post 2015 agenda. One focal point to create a sustainable world must be a comprehensive implementation of the Rio +20 outcome with special atention to sustainable consumption, renewable energy and educaton for sustainable development. Furthermore we demand to place strong emphasis on social issues. In a sustainable world there is no room for discriminaton of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender. In a sustainable world it should be impossible that we statstically produce enough food for everyone, but that there is a child dying of hunger-related causes every 5 seconds. In a sustainable world everyone would have access to sexual and reproductive health and would be able to universally claim sexual and reproductive rights. There is much work ahead of us and we should not forget that we have yet to reach the Millennium Development Goals. Partcipation is one key to tackle these issues. For a sustainable world a broad society movement based on the same duties and the same rights for everyone has to be means and end.

We met thousands of young people on our tour through Germany and they all want to become involved. They want to improve the situaton within their society to take responsibility for a global society and actually promote change.

This is their message to you: Do not only come to realize that half of the world’s populaton is young people - strive to be their partners. Partners for a common goal – a just and solidary world. Stand up for these young people, but do not forget to let them stand up for themselves as well !"

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