Sri Lanka’s future success depends on youth - UN chief

Sri Lanka’s future success depends on youth - UN chief

September 1, 2016   05:14 pm

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that the United Nations (UN) pays serious attention on the future of the young people and that it recognizes their role as peace builders and agents of change who can break down barriers and reach across cultural divides.

The Secretary-General, who is in Sri Lanka on a three-day official visit, travelled to Galle this morning and participated in an event involving youth under the theme ‘Reconciliation and Coexistence: Role of Youth’. 

“Now that you are going through all this important transition towards a better future, I wanted to see for myself how you have been making a difference, how you are making your own future,” he said, addressing a gathering of Sri Lankan youths.

Ban said that wherever he travels as the Secretary-General of the UN, he tries to meet young people in order to hear their own concerns, priorities and how the leadership of this country should help them realize their aspiration and dreams. 

The Secretary-General said that in July he launched a global partnership to end violence against children, a landmark in the UN’s efforts to ensure that every child can reach his or her potential, free from violence. 

“And also when there is violence, there must be a justice process,” he emphasized. 

He thanked the government of Sri Lanka for its support to this partnership and offering to become a pathfinder country.

The UN chief further said that there are 73 million young people who are out of jobs in the world. “This is one of the serious global problems now.” 

He said that no single country can solve this problem by itself and that even Sri Lanka may not be able to solve youth unemployment in the country. “Therefore we have to address globally”. 

Around the world the United Nations is working to ensure that every young person has the education, health services, employment and rights they deserve, Ban Ki-moon said.

He said the United Nations is building more and stronger partnerships with the youth-led and youth-focused organizations to promote peace and development.

“I have also been trying to put right one of the most serious injustices: the exclusion of young people from peace building and reconciliation processes.” 

“Why should the young people be drafted to fight the war? Why can it be the case that young people participate in peace building instead of trouble-making, instead of becoming the target of enemies and fighting?”

He said that all young people  should be able to participate in this peace making process to ensure sustainable social justice especially in countries like Sri Lanka that are recovering from conflict.

The United Nations has taken very serious attention on your future. It recognizes the role of young people as peace builders and agents of change who can break down barriers and reach across cultural divides, he said.

The UN Secretary-General said that young people also played a critical role in designing the 2030 sustainable development agenda with 17 goals. 

Ban said that he had “good talks” yesterday with the Prime Minister, Foreign minister, Justice Minister, Law and Order Minister and many State Ministers. 

He said that he asked the leadership of this country to make sure that these 17 goals are implemented in full, in its entirety and in its comprehensive way. Many of the goals focus on the priority areas for young people, he said. 

He said that in recent years Sri Lanka has emerged as one of the biggest contributors to the youth agenda. “Your country is a strong advocate for youth development on the international stage.” 

Domestically it is important to continue to increase investment in the young women and women that make one fifth of the Sri Lankan population, he added. 

“You are your countries biggest asset. Sri Lanka’s future success depends on you. But most of you were born and lived your early lives during the times of conflict. Many of you suffered deprivations and injustices,”  he said, addressing the gathering of youths. 

Involvement in peace building, reconciliation and post-conflict transformation provide an opportunity to emerge from this trauma to play a part in creating a better future, he emphasized. 

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