Lizbeth Cullity's Speech for the International Youth Day in SamoaAug 12, 2015
Fuimapoao Beth Onesemo Tuilaepa, CEO of the MWCSD
Ms. Jennifer Marion Ula – Fruean, President of the Samoa National Youth Council
Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here to commemorate the 2015 International Youth Day.
Today is an opportunity to celebrate together the enthusiasm, the creativity and the energy of youth. Young people are an untapped reservoir of talent and it is essential to give them the right tools to express their opinions and unlock their potential.
Nowadays, the world is changing rapidly and over the past few years social media have caused tremendous social, political and lifestyle changes. Whenever we want to connect with people, stay informed or influence someone else’s habits, we use the social media. As a matter of fact, social media seems to be a big part of our lives.
From a senior perspective though it can be hard to fully understand the dynamics of these fast changes, envision the many challenges that youth face everyday and realize how competitive this world can be. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the world through the eyes of youth.
As the Secretary - General of the United Nations highlighted in his message for the 2015 International Youth Day: “No one knows better than them the issues at stake or the best way to respond. That is why I am calling on young people to speak out – and I am urging leaders to listen.”
Today´s generation of youth is the largest in history. Yet too often, across the world, the opportunities for young people to engage politically, economically and socially are limited.
Again, as Ban Ki – Moon said: "In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world."
Thus, when we give youth voice in politics and in public life, orient their school-to-work transition, strengthen their skills and facilitate their access to decent jobs… they can play their full part in building stronger and more inclusive communities. Simply put, empowering young people and ensuring their participation at all levels will help them shape a better and more equitable future for us all.
Globally, economical exclusion and youth unemployment are the main challenges. Two out of three young people in developing economies are without work, not studying, or engaged in irregular/informal employment .
The United Nations in partnership with the Government of Samoa are strongly committed to address youth unemployment. Through the Youth Employment Programme, we are working together to ensure young people´s entry in the labour market, build their capacities and connect them with better working opportunities.
The programme also aims at fostering innovation and supporting young entrepreneurs to create businesses in rural areas by processing agricultural resources and developing tourism opportunities. This takes effort and time but we believe that it is possible. We believe that no one should be left behind.
On this Day, I call for forging new partnerships and joining efforts in eliminating all the barriers young people face, in making them less vulnerable to any sort of exclusion so that we can all see the world through their eyes.
This is an opportunity we cannot miss.