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Thursday, May 08, 2014 - 6.33 GMT

Youth conference discussions address multiple issues

 

The round table discussions of the World Conference on Youth (WCY) 2014 commenced at Bandaranaike Memorial International Convention Hall (BMICH) yesterday (May 7).

The discussions held yesterday focused on the improvement of multiple fields.

Accordingly, the youth discussed on “Ending Systematic Inequalities”. The speakers at the session chaired by Sri Lankan Parliamentarian Mr. Harin Fernando, included UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka Ms. Una McCauley and Mr. Ricardo Baruch from Mexico representing the Youth Coalition that works on sexual and reproductive rights of youth.

Mr. Baruch who addressed the gathering expressed his views on the action plan of global organizations such as the United Nations in terms of paying attention to systematic inequalities present in the world.

He pointed out that the United Nations did not take into account systematic inequalities under Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “They failed to address very basic issues” he said. According to Mr. Baruch, the proposed MDGs failed to address issues relating to systematic inequalities.

Mr. Fernando explained how Sri Lanka could be at an advantage due to general facilities such as free education and health services, which are not provided even in some of the most developed countries. He also mentioned that Sri Lanka performs well as a country in the indicator of maternal health.

Ms. McCauley started her speech by sharing “good news.” She stated that this is an era that we could celebrate for reasons such as longevity, having more students learning in schools and most children surviving up to the fifth birthday. However, she still believes that the world is suffering from different types of systematic inequalities. “The world you are growing in today is unequal,” she said.

The round table session on “Poverty Eradication and Food Security” consisted speakers Gabon’s Minister of Economy, Digital Communications and Post Mr. Blaise Louembe, Pan African Coordinator of the International Movement of Catholic Students (Pax Romana) Ms. Afou Bengaly, Sri Lanka’s Country Manager of Microsoft Mr. Imran Vilcassim and Deputy Secretary to the Treasury of Sri Lanka Dr. B.M.S Batagoda.

After an introduction and its context in Africa, Ms. Bengaly went on to describe the methods of eradicating poverty. She expressed how political inadequacies lead to economic insufficiencies.

Minister Louembe talked of the measures his country has taken to minimize poverty and of the actions that need to be implemented in order to eradicate poverty in the future by maximizing job enrollment.

Youth Delegates at the WCY also discussed on achieving good governance and accountability and rooting out corruption.

Approximately 100 youth delegates participated in this round table session. The panel comprised of the following: Secretary General of Universal Peace Foundation Asia Mrs. Ursula McLackland, Ms. Elodie Beth of U.N. Development Program and the Policy and Research Coordinator of Restless Development Ms. Sarah Haynes.

Ms. Haynes spoke about the challenges faced by youth in achieving the MDGs and showed the necessity of an effective mechanism to employ youth in realizing goals.

Ms. Beth talked about the importance and ways of empowering youth to achieve good governance and accountability. In her presentation, she said, “The U.N. works by, with and for young people as initiators, collaborators and target groups” in shaping the youth for the Post-2015 Agenda.

Mrs. McLackland, in her speech, stressed the importance of having a pleasant family background in promoting good governance.

“Family environment is very important in character-building, and this is why marriages are urged,” Mrs. McLackland said.

‘Youth Rights’ was another theme among the round table discussions. The participants from diverse geographical regions and cultures expressed candid opinions as they sought to make use of the unique opportunity to shape the future of the world and its development beyond 2015.

Addressing the participants were Serbia’s Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Ms. Snezana Klasnja, Vice President of the Pan African Youth Union Mr. Andy Roland Nziengui and Mr. Wasantha Senanayake, one of the youngest members of Sri Lanka’s Parliament.

Mr. Senanayake questioned whether individuals had the right to choose one’s sexuality or sexual orientation. He asked the audience to consider whether this was an individual right or the right of the state. He also pointed out the paucity of sex education in Sri Lanka and stressed the need for greater focus on contraception, unplanned pregnancies around the world and female genital mutilation in Africa.

Mr. Senanayake pointed out that 80 countries criminalized homosexuality while in eight countries homosexuals faced capital punishment.

Voices from Sri Lanka were heard saying that the youth need to be given more independence; that education needs to be more diverse and job oriented unlike the current system which was described as a Victorian inheritance; that restrictions on the rights of youth, particularly in the rural areas where marriage by tradition has to be within the caste, should be removed.

Others from around the world wanted attention drawn to violence against women in universities and jobs, inadequate health facilities impacting on women’s health, and better facilities and care for those with special needs. A voice from southern Europe called for greater attention to refugees from Africa who she said were drowning every week, while another pointed out that young people have insufficient information on sexual rights and also called for more attention on HIV Aids.

The round table discussions also considered about individual rights. The participants from diverse geographical regions and cultures expressed candid opinions as they sought to make use of the unique opportunity to shape the future of the world and its development beyond 2015.

Employment, education and equal rights came into focus as youth from across the globe shared their views on the most important issues in their countries as the five-day Conference of youth discussed the rights of youth.

Addressing the participants were Serbia’s Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Ms. Snezana Klasnja, Vice President of the Pan African Youth Union Mr. Andy Roland Nziengui and Mr. Wasantha Senanayake, one of the youngest members of Sri Lanka’s Parliament.

Mr. Senanayake questioned whether individuals had the right to choose one’s sexuality or sexual orientation. He asked the audience to consider whether this was an individual right or the right of the state.

Voices from Sri Lanka were heard saying that the youth need to be given more independence; that education needs to be more diverse and job oriented unlike the current system which was described as a Victorian inheritance; that restrictions on the rights of youth, particularly in the rural areas where marriage by tradition has to be within the caste, should be removed.

Others from around the world wanted attention drawn to violence against women in universities and jobs, inadequate health facilities impacting on women’s health, and better facilities and care for those with special needs. A voice from southern Europe called for greater attention to refugees from Africa who she said were drowning every week, while another pointed out that young people have insufficient information.

She explained the mechanism of her organization when promoting human dignities and peace in 198 countries. She added that there are 15 million Red Cross volunteers all over the world, who are young, or under 30 years old.

 




 

 
 
   
   
     
   
   

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