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Oct 23, 2011
Though Children and Youth have been made stakeholders but what is worth pondering about is that when will they become more than token presences? When will governments and other stakeholders consider them as more than caterpillars who can be dealt with when they become butterflies. It is important that the youth perculates into every major group but issues like employment (or the lack of it), reproductive health, rights and choices are more crucial for a person when they are young rather than when they are old. It was keeping this in mind that the Major Group for Children and Youth prepared this statement for the preparatory meeting for the UNCSD held in Seoul on 19th and 20th October, 2011. Uptil now ‘Health’ and specially Reproductive Health has barely been mentioned in the Zero Draft or in lay man’s language the first draft proposal which Civil Society is preparing and has to submit by the 1st of Novemebr, 2011 such that it can be processed and used for deliberations by countries sometime earaly in 2012. This base draft will also form the first draft for the demands that we have and would like our governments to keep in mind while negotiating in June, 2012 during RIO+20.
This is our chance to contribute so lets be a part of the change and read, learn as well as contribute towards the Zero Draft.
Our contribution was this statement:
Statement by the Major Group for Children and Youth
We, the representatives of the Major Group of Children and Youth, call for renewed political commitment towards sustainable development and engagement of youth at every stage in this marathon towards Rio+20.
Almost twenty years have passed since the Earth Summit and too little has been done to achieve the promise of sustainable development. We the youth urge our leaders to take collective action NOW to ensure that 20 years from now, a youth participant does not have to make the very same demands:
First, governments must take concrete steps to make “sustainable development” a reality in the world we live in and the world our future generations will inherit. To this end we urge governments at the very least to develop a national strategy towards sustainable development with the full participation of young people.
Second, principles and practices of “sustainability” must be embedded in curriculums from primary through to tertiary levels and in a variety of social institutions to ensure lifelong learning and appreciation of nature and animals.
Governments must support the critical role of universities and colleges in providing the leaders of tomorrow with the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve the goal of sustainable development.
Third, governments must enact legislation and programs to support young people in their pursuit of self-sufficiency and green entrepreneurship by encouraging sustainable consumption patterns and low waste/ low carbon lifestyles.
Fourth, governments must establish regional and inter-regional youth programmes for capacity development, human resource development, and sustainable development education, as well as support for youth-led projects and networks within and across countries.
Fifth, governments must promote youth employment rights and security to prevent their marginalization and social exclusion. Further, concerted efforts must be made to end child labour by addressing the conditions that lead to it.
Sixth, in your deliberations over the institutional framework for sustainable development we urge you to ensure that resources are allocated to implement activities for and by youth; that youth are systematically and integrally included in all stages of program implementation; and that youth will have the right to access information of all programs and policies.
Last but not the least, unhealthy societies can never make a sustainable world. Governments must ensure access to basic health services, including sexual reproductive health for young women and girls.
Let me conclude with the words of Simone de Beauvoir, I quote “Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future. Act now, without delay.” End quote. Thank you!