The high level event of the President of the General Assembly
marking the 20th Anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth
to highlight Youth Priorities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Statement by: Jeffrey Salim Waheed
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives
New York, 29 May 2015
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this special session. Today, let us not just reflect on past achievements, but also reaffirm our commitment and dedication to ensure that our youth get the opportunities they deserve.
The world has never witnessed such unprecedented youth bulge in the global demographic. We have an unparalleled opportunity and responsibility to ensure that this potential is harnessed to the fullest degree. The World Programme of Action for Youth has proven itself to be a step in the right direction and it is in our interests to catalyze these efforts.
It is important to note that the 15 priority areas identified through the program are interrelated and mutually dependent, and cannot be realized in isolation. Access to health services, investment in education and ensuring gainful employment are the pillars necessary for the growth and well being of our youth population.
The Government of the Maldives is deeply committed to designing and mainstreaming youth considerations in its national policies. Programs such as these aimed to provide free primary education to all, apprenticeship programs develop to place final-year students with private companies to address unemployment, access to universal health care, to name a few, have been successful, and have positively impacted the youth in the country. With nearly a quarter of the youth aged 18 to 35 being unemployed, the need to galvanize a productive youth in the Maldives is ever present.
The Government of the Maldives promotes sports as a way to harness the potential of youth. Sports speaks a universal language, contributes to mutual understanding, and to health, including combating non-communicable diseases, to education, and to promoting values like tolerance, respect and inclusion. This is why the Government has invested in providing sports facilities, promoting healthy lifestyles and team sports throughout the country.
Much work remains to be done to ensure participation of youth members from all sections of society for equitable development. Needs-based assessments, adequate data collection, and monitoring and evaluation programs, are crucial to understand the challenges felt by this group as a prerequisite for any framework design. Because of the dynamic nature of youth issues in a rapidly evolving world, tracking such developments will ensure their inclusion in wider policy frameworks.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved without youth development. Recognizing youth needs, forming a participatory policy-design process and measuring impacts, will be key factors in realizing the targets we aimed for 20 years ago. The Maldives remains committed and deeply engaged in promoting a post-2015 development agenda, with special emphasis on the rights of youth and children. Let us together reaffirm our commitments and work towards investing in our youth and in the future of the world.