WYA Statement at Commission on Social Development

Text of WYA’s oral statement as delivered by Kin-Z Francis

Feb. 7, 2017

Thank you sir,

I speak on behalf of the World Youth Alliance, a global coalition of over 200,000 young people and a million more through affiliated organisations, a coalition that promotes the inclusion of the dignity of the human person in policy, education and culture.

The value that is possessed by each human person obliges us to eradicate poverty for all. Poverty threatens to extinguish our passions to make a difference, our bright ideas, and our burning desires to just be given a chance.

The World Youth Alliance asks that you acknowledge the recognition of the intrinsic dignity of the human person as the foundation on which every human right should be built.

It is the recognition of this dignity that will ensure that efforts toward sustainable development are inclusive of all.

Authentic development takes place at all levels of society, creating a social, political and economic environment that allows persons to reach their full physical, spiritual, mental and emotional potential.

Policies founded on the concept of human dignity consider the person holistically, and recognize their ability to contribute to society regardless of race, sex, wealth, or ability.

Human dignity can be acknowledged in development efforts in the following ways:

First, person-centered policies. Person-centered policies acknowledge not only the ways in which individuals can benefit from development, but also the contributions that they can make to development. Everyone’s involvement, especially those from vulnerable groups, strengthen strategies that aim to ensure that the basic needs such as healthcare and education are met, while respecting the cultural values, beliefs and community priorities.

Secondly, solidarity. Goal 17 calls for partnership. Our shared humanity should encourage us to work towards the common good, and the building of a community in which everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

In an attempt to promote solidarity on the basis of our common dignity,  WYA has created the Human Dignity Curriculum, via which young people are educated about their inherent and inviolable human dignity.

They learn that they, and others deserve respect and have the ability to contribute to their families, local communities, and the global society.

This understanding of shared humanity gives them a respect for the equality of individuals, a rationale for self-sacrifice, and the recognition that sustainable development is not limited to a particular region or demographic.

By understanding this, what was once considered “their problem” can now be seen as our problem. People would no longer be problems, but would be problem solvers.

The World Youth Alliance seeks to cultivate a spirit of solidarity: a spirit that allows us to make a conscious, genuine, and free decision to help our brothers and sisters;

One that will have us act without expecting anything in return, because the value of the human person is understood to be a sufficient reason to act.

We urge the commission to keep human dignity at the center of all efforts to ensure that poverty eradication and the journey towards sustainable development issues truly are for all.

WYA’s members are ready to do our part.

Thank you.

You can view the video of Kin-Z presenting our statement on our Facebook page.