High-Level Event on the Demographic Dividend and Youth Employment
H.E Mr. Ahmed Sareer
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives
to the United Nations
New York, 1 June 2015
Thank you for the opportunity to offer some remarks on behalf of the Maldives delegation, at this important high level event. At the outset, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the President of the General Assembly, for organizing this event and for leading the harmonization of youth efforts across UN agencies and Member States. I would also like to thank the distinguished panel for the useful insights to our discussion today.
More than 44% of the population in Maldives comprises of youth under the age of 25, a trend that finds resonance with many other countries. The unique potential and challenges faced by the demography need to be addressed with the utmost urgency.
Tools to improve health conditions of children and youth are the cornerstone of any sound implementation of youth policy. Maldives has undertaken several steps forward in this area. The introduction of a universal health care system by the government and policies aimed to provide support and aid to high-risk children, ensure that all children are given the same opportunity to realize their potential.
One of the most crucial policy initiatives for furthering youth wellbeing is in the area of education. Investments in education systems have tremendous impact on societies. The Maldives offers free education up to higher secondary level, within a larger policy framework of “No Child is Left Behind”.
Youth potential cannot be harnessed without gainful employment. Education without an opportunity to utilize the knowledge gained, is a fore-bearer of social and economic unrest. An environment that is conducive to satisfying and encouraging human development through dignified labor is central to creating peaceful and productive societies.
The Government of Maldives has also formulated a Youth Bill and Youth Health Strategy to catalyze growth and social welfare. Major projects such as “Youth City” have been announced and are expected to attract investments, serving as a focal point for innovation and employment.
It is not only necessary to build programs around the youth, but equally important to ensure their involvement in policy making. We support international and regional efforts for youth advocacy and participation. Last year, Maldives hosted the Regional Consultative Meeting to finalize the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Youth Charter and Action Plan focusing on creating enabling environments, education, employment and health.
We also take this opportunity to commend the Secretary General’s Global Education First initiative. Education is a human right that has transformative powers to address issues related to poverty, hunger and crime. Catalyzing improved access to quality education for all must be made a global priority.
A well-educated, healthy and employed youth population forms the crux of a successful society. As a global community, we must ensure that voices of our youth are heard, policies aimed at furthering their success are implemented and participation ensured. Let us together invest in our future, by investing in our young.
I thank you.