This year, 143 young people from 96 countries and some 50 observers representing 34 organizations, took part in the Forum.
The Director-General began his intervention by congratulating the participants on “three very fruitful days of debate, which is captured in the Forum’s final report.” (…) “I am convinced that the presentation of the Report to the Plenary of the General Conference and the different Programme Commissions will generate an interesting debate and raise awareness among decision-makers about your needs, views and aspirations. Indeed, it is vital for the highest decision-making body of UNESCO to have your valuable input.”
“This year’s Forum is very timely,” said Mr Matsuura, recalling that its two principal themes, ‘Investing out of the crisis: towards a partnership between UNESCO and youth organizations’; and ‘Youth participation: UNESCO Youth Forum, a long-term approach’, “lie at the heart of global concerns and discussions.”
Referring to the recent financial and economic crisis, the Director-General noted that it had affected the lives of everyone and hit hardest those who are least responsible, particularly young people in developing countries. “Yet, as I have repeatedly emphasized to UNESCO Member States, with the crisis comes the opportunity for change. Times of uncertainty open up possibilities for profound transformation. We must seize this chance, and use it to bring about more inclusive societies as well as more stable and equitable growth. My experience at the head of UNESCO over the past 10 years has convinced me that there is a direct link between investing in knowledge and accelerating development,” he argued.
“Your suggestions, along with your views and insights on UNESCO’s work, will be key to rendering more effective our efforts to address youth concerns and will definitely enable us to respond to the challenge of promoting meaningful and effective youth participation across the Organization,” stated Mr Matsuura.
The Director-General went on to highlight the increasing awareness and recognition of the potential of youth and of the value of their contribution to the elaboration and the development of UNESCO’s programme. “I have seen the Youth Forum evolve from a side activity to an integral part of the General Conference. This is demonstrated by the formal presentation of the Youth Forum Report during the General Conference, as well as the integration of the Forum’s youth delegates in their country’s official delegation to the General Conference.”
“But we can do much more”, added the Director-General. “We need to build on this momentum in order to further foster a meaningful and effective participation of youth in the development of the Organization’s programme. (…) Through increased cooperation between your organizations and UNESCO’s Field Offices and Institutes, as well as the National Commissions, Clubs, Centres and the UNESCO/UNITWIN Chairs, I am convinced that we can work hand-in-hand to ensure an appropriate follow-up to this Youth Forum. Only then we will rightly be able to say that youth are at the heart of UNESCO’s action,” he concluded.
Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 178-2009 - Publication Date: 06-10-2009