Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, said the strength, the faith and the imagination of young people are precisely the elements that uplift our societies and communities and make them resilient, stable and richer – and countries would be poorer if this potential is not recognized and harnessed.
Mr Weeratunga said this at the plenary session on “Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Agenda: What We Want” of the World Conference on Youth held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) this morning.
"It is apparent that the problems of the youth, as a significant group of the world population, have to be adequately addressed, not only for global development to progress, but also to enable them to add value to the development process,” Mr. Weeratunga said. “Thus, empowering young people, socially, economically, intellectually and politically, across all divides, is critical to see tangible progress in global development post-2015.”
Ms. Saba Loftus from the U.N. Major Group on Children and Youth who addressed the session said that it is really refreshing to see local youth interacting with international youth. "People tell you that you are the leaders of tomorrow,” Ms. Loftus said. “You do not have that luxury. You have to be leaders today. The post-2015 agenda is our chance to shape what we want our world to look like.”
In a video message delivered to the audience, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for the U.N. Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) Ms. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira emphasized the importance of having a permanent mechanism to address issues related to the youth. She further said these kinds of conferences are a clear indication that the youth are involved in the social process and also added that Sri Lanka has done an amazing job by hosting this conference.
Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Mr. Dullas Alahapperuma and Mr. Douglas Ragan, Project Manager for Research and Analysis of UN-HABITAT were also at the plenary.
There were 14 session of the World Conference on Youth, which entered its third day. The Conference held seven working sessions on subjects such as youth, education, rights, good governance and youth inclusiveness.
The World Conference on Youth 2014, will conclude on May 10 after adopting its declaration.
More than 15000 delegates from 62 countries are attending the 15th World Conference on Youth.