WYA addressed the 51st session of the Commission on Population and Development on April 12, 2018. The full text of the remarks follow below.
Thank you, Mister Chair, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. I represent the World Youth Alliance, a global coalition of young people with over 200,000 members in over 130 countries around the world. We are dedicated to the promotion of human dignity in policy and culture.
People must be at the center of development. Every human being has human dignity. It is this intrinsic worth of each person that makes us the most valuable resource of any nation. Laws, policies, and programs should equip and empower people to be contributors to development. Population policy should be about people, not only demographic trends or controversial social policies.
Education is a crucial way to develop human capital, not only through the sharing of knowledge but also through personal development. World Youth Alliance achieves the latter through our Human Dignity Curriculum. This program teaches children about human dignity—that every human being has it, and should therefore be respected—as a way to promote respect, equality, and confidence. Young people who understand their human dignity are prepared to make responsible personal decisions and treat others with respect, including in their personal relationships.
They also are ready to help bring about authentic development in their communities in a spirit of solidarity. SDG 16 provides a framework to create conditions where everyone can contribute, through fostering “peaceful and inclusive societies,” “access to justice for all,” and “effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
We recognize the important work being done in negotiating the Global Compact on Migration. However, we also note with special concern those whose migration is involuntary, and the role that violence plays in driving such migration. Building peaceful and inclusive societies will help reduce involuntary migration.
As young people, we particularly care about the protection of minor migrants. Young migrants are vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking, abuse, and radicalization, especially when unaccompanied. The family is a key protector of children and can help all members to flourish. This in turn fosters thriving societies. We encourage legislation that helps migrant families to stay together.
Access to justice and strong, accountable institutions foster human flourishing. Locally-led initiatives, intelligible regulations, and appropriate infrastructure produce the conditions in which people drive development. They facilitate access to all to the varying forms of capital of the society: not only financial, but natural resources, knowledge resources, cultural capital, infrastructure, and institutional capital.
Lack of access to these forms of capital falls hardest on the poor, especially when it is coupled with corruption. Eliminating bribery and improving access to just and functional institutions will help those most likely to be left behind to access this capital.
When people can rely on just institutions, they are better able to use their gifts for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneur ship for the common good and to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. This is essential to addressing the poverty and ensuring that cities are truly sustainable and achieve authentic development for all members of the community.
We urge the members of the Commission to ensure that all policies related to sustainable cities, human mobility, and international migration are grounded in respect for the dignity of the human person and create the conditions which help each person to thrive. Thank you.
WYA’s statement as a non-governmental organization was delivered by North America intern Alexandra Rose.