The plenary session on “Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Agenda: Taking Action” was held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) this morning on the final day of deliberations of the World Conference on Youth (WCY) 2014.
Commencing the day's session, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador Mr. Ishmael Beah, in a video message, emphasized the importance of youth receiving a formal education.
“Every child has a right to education,” he said. “I urge all young children not to be left out.”
Chairperson of the Global Education First Initiative Mr. Chernor Bah said there is a significant difference in what today's youth are doing and what they can actually do.
“We are the most informed and active youth generation in the history,” he said.
Expressing his views on youth involvement in social, economic and political processes, Mr. Bah said political structures at all times have been created excluding young voices, even though the young voices are very strong and tangible. The worst thing that can happen to a youth is to lose his or her idealism, he said, urging the youth to raise their voices for matters that are relevant to them.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York Dr. Palitha Kohona spoke on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka.
"In the past, global dialogue on development paid little attention to matters related to youth, not because of deliberate policy, but that is how things have been done,' Dr. Kohona said.
Many tended to treat youth issues as tomorrow's problem, he continued, indicating that ironically today's youth are at the center of a complex web of challenges of the world. He said they elect governments, they change governments and initiate global movements. They are today's challenge, not tomorrow's problem, he said.
Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Mr. Dullas Alahapperuma and Asia – Pacific Regional Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ms. Nobuko Horibe were also at the plenary.