The World Youth Alliance was present at the 52nd Session of the Commission for Social Development at the United Nations Headquarters, which ran from 11-21 February 2014. WYA commends Member States for their strong language on empowering youth in alignment with this year’s priority theme on “promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all,” and in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family (IYF).
WYA celebrates that in the final outcome document the Member States reaffirm that a person-centred approach is required to achieve economic and social development. In particular, WYA supports the language introduced by the G77, which emphasises the need to have a more meaningful involvement and active participation of all, including children, youth, and other vulnerable groups, in order to strengthen their “capacity to make informed decisions in exercising the right and responsibility to take an active part in the affairs of the community in which they live,” as people are the principal resource of societies. WYA also commends language recognising that “the realization of children’s rights is among the most effective ways to eradicate poverty,” and that Members States recommit themselves to investing in the best interests of children through providing quality education and healthcare.
WYA also appreciates the resolution on the observance of the IYF, which reaffirms the importance of the family in achieving development. However, WYA regrets that this language on the family is absent from the priority theme resolution. Despite a proposal by Belarus to include language in line with Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognising the family as the “natural and fundamental unit of society,” its role in “contributing to the eradication of poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases,” was not addressed. As observed by H.E. Valentin Rybakov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, sitting on the panel on “Social Drivers of Sustainable Development,” the Millennium Development Goals would not be accomplished without the “important contributions of individual family units of the world.” He then asked rhetorically, “How do we think that child mortality would go down, or the primary education rate would go up, without the facilitating action of parents?” This underlines the importance of celebrating the family and having a person-centred approach to eradicating poverty.
Finally, during the Commission WYA delivered an oral statement on the need for a more youth-centred approach to development. Ana Laura Hernandez, WYA HQ advocacy fellow from Mexico, delivered the statement to an audience of delegates and civil society representatives. In her statement, Ana Laura emphasised the capacity of youth for innovation, which “is an essential driver for poverty eradication and sustainable development.” She further asserted that States must also show a commitment to meet basic needs, so that every person is able to exercise his or her ingenuity. She concluded by calling on States to end poverty by investing in the human person through education and skills training and by fostering the creative force of humanity.
To read WYA’s written statement on poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all, click here.