Our Future Starts Today
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Youth Statement at Regional Consultation on Post-2015 Development Agenda in Europe & Central Asia
We have our vision of the future, and in that future, in OUR future, there’s no poverty and there is social justice. Everyone feels protected by their human rights. Every adolescent and youth gets quality education. Every person gets the healthcare they need. Every person is free to express his or her cultural heritage without being discriminated. All people are treated equally, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, abilities, cultural background, social status, sexual orientation, visual appearance and HIV and AIDS status.
In our future, people are able to share what needs to be shared, especially amongst the most marginalized. There is no hunger. There is no war. No one is left behind. Everybody has the freedom to speak. Everybody has access to the labor market. We have responsible governments that include all voices equally. Our future is a sustainable future. This is the future we dream of. THIS IS THE FUTURE WE HAVE TO START BUILDING TODAY – THIS IS THE WORLD WE WANT.
We present six priority issues: education, health, employment, environmental sustainability and water, protection against crime and violence: discrimination and equality. It also presents our recommendations in the post-2015 goals.
Firstly, there are still many adolescents and youth who don’t have access to education, even in this modern and technology-based world. This has a direct influence on their future. Without education, young people become excluded from society and from labour markets. This creates unnecessary divisions in society. We, youth, have great experience and valuable information from the local and community levels that we want to share.
We still need progress to be made so that all young people have access to quality education. Without our involvement, there is a gap between policies and what youth want, what they expect and what they get. This could have a big influence on countries’ progress and could slow down national development. We, youth, showed so many times before, that if given the chance, we will deliver great initiatives and social change ideas.
We are ready to work on monitoring of the quality of education systems through partnerships that will engage Government and youth to work and monitor together. We are ready to work together to ensure inclusive high quality, empowering education to every children and youth in our region. And we are ready to share our innovative solutions for increasing the usage of information technology in schools.
Secondly, youth are often not receiving information about health issues and do not have access to healthcare, especially marginalized groups. Health is our right. But also, in today’s world, where everybody strives for economic prosperity, health is a first step. If we have healthy youth then we will have quality workers. If we have quality workers we will have bigger chance to achieve economic prosperity. We, as youth, can give you examples of good practices and approaches for improving young people’s health, and together we can achieve positive changes.
All young people should have access to quality and youth friendly healthcare. There should also be exemption from costs for those living beneath the deprivation index. We are ready to work on including health education within formal school curricula. Let’s also work together to create and implement public policies that will ensure a healthy lunch for every student in school.
Thirdly, youth unemployment is one of the major issues in Europe and Central Asia. Those with less education have more trouble finding a job, but those with high levels of education are not spared of this challenge. As a chain reaction, we have a brain drain and that further weakens our region. We can help our fellow youth, our countries and you, our leaders, to find new and better solutions.
Because it’s our future, we are ready to work together to improve communication between educational institutions and employers: on integrating courses that support entrepreneurship in the education system: establishing a systematic way of reviewing curricula for basic and higher education in relation to current labour markets.
We are ready to take our responsibility to make this world a better place. We are ready to take action now. We pledge an equal partnership with Governments in the post-2015 development agenda. We can provide good practices from our first-hand knowledge and positive experiences. We are young but we have a strong will to change our world. We believe that our practical knowledge of the situation on the ground is crucial. With our creativity and innovation skills, and, with your experience and expertise, we can achieve positive change.
The only way to make sure the post-2015 development agenda will be a reality, is if we start working on it all together. It’s time for solutions, action and partnership. Youth are not just the future generation - Youth are partners TODAY.
Elected youth spokesperson
Regional consultation with youth from Europe and Central Asia