AFRICAN EUROPEAN YOUNG PEOPLE INITIATIVES: PAPER PRESENTATION ON THE URGENT ESSENCE OF SOUND SOCIAL POLICY DEVELOPMENT AGENDA FOR YOUTH IN THE 21 ST CENTURY.
With all due respect and honour to you, I am particularly pleased to present to you all, this topic of My Paper Presentation Themed: The Urgent Essence of Sound Social Policy Development Agenda for Youth in the 21st Century. You all will agree with me today that, the world is undergoing a dual movement of globalization and fragmentation. It is also being shaped by the progress in science knowledge and technology. These different forces call for the definition of new benchmark; the international communities must set about the growing deeper insight into the ethical implications and possibilities for action. Today. We are gathered here in the name of Summer Congress 2010 jointly organised by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA) and the the International Centre for Interdisciplinary Reserch in Law (ICIRL) for Establishment of the First Possible Collaboration between the Organizations for the Ultimate Benefit of future relationship to provide a forum for reflection and action.
Through most of the twentieth century, the nations of the world have been divided, and some of their conflicts were over their different economic systems. Since the fall of the Soviet-type, or “Communist,” governments in Eastern Europe, this division may seem to be a thing of the past. It might be hasty to draw that conclusion, though. In the 1930's, it seemed to many observers that capitalism had failed, and that the future belonged to one or another of the non-capitalist systems. A little more time proved that that impression was wrong--capitalism came back to a dominant position, but it was somewhat different form of capitalism. In early 1997, it seemed as if the non-capitalist systems have failed, and the future belonged to capitalism. But just as the perception of things in the 30's was wrong, the perception of things in the 1990's may also be wrong. Indeed, by late 1998, problems for capitalist countries had mounted to the point that a major American newsmagazine could run as a headline the question “Who Lost Capitalism?”
Certainly, there is something to be learned from the collapse of the Soviet-type systems, but what? Is the debate over economic systems over, or has it entered a new phase? Only time will tell. What I can do in this Text is to look back over the debates in the 20th century, and review a bit of what economists have learned from them and taught about them. The point of view will be that of neoclassical economics. Discussions of economic systems have usually focused on the ideal conceptions of the different systems and on the extent to which the ideal might be realized in the actual systems of the different countries. One fallacy I want to avoid is that of comparing the ideal in one case with the actual performance of another. That's not fair and can only lead to confusion.
But ideals can be deceptive it is quite possible that one system might be preferable to another, as an ideal, but so difficult to realize in practice that in actual examples, it is worse. I shall try to have a look both at the ideal, and at the obstacles to realizing that the essence of youth policy, in the 21st century is an ideal in practice. The ideal economic systems have played a part in different deologies and social movements, but the ideal systems are not the same thing as the ideologies and social movements. As economists have conceived them, the ideal systems of the twentieth century have been market capitalism, government-managed capitalism, central planning, market socialism, and labor-management. The last three of these have played some part in socialist thinking, in different times and places, while central planning and also played some part in fascism and, in some countries, capitalism. This will focus mainly on the ideal systems and the problems and difficulties of putting them into practice. Accordingly, we will first quickly summarize market capitalism as an economic system, largely drawing on ideas in other chapters of this text. We will say a little about different kinds of capitalism, including government-managed capitalism, and about the difficulties of putting market capitalism into actual practice, and about the social movements that challenged capitalism. We will then talk about ideal central planning, the difficulties of putting it into practice, and about two other non-capitalist ideal systems, market socialism and labor-management, and the difficulties they, too, face in practice. Finally, we will try to draw some lessons from the collapse of the Eastern European Communist countries,
I want to recognize the efforts made by Governments and the United Nations in adopting and effectively implementing the provisions of the World Prograrmme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, adopted by the General Assembly in 1996, and the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes, adopted at the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth held at Lisbon from 8 to 12 August 1998.
I am highly concerned about the continued deterioration of the status of youth worldwide, who face growing levels of unemployment, poverty, armed conflict, epidemic diseases, functional illiteracy and substance abuse - among other social and economic challenges-despite global advances made in technologies, entrepreneurship development, medical research, leisure and recreation facilities.
I have realize that over one billion of the world population lives in poverty, facing daily the unacceptable conditions of hunger and malnutrition, disease, homelessness, unsafe environments and social exclusion, and that the majority of this population consists of young people, three quarters of them living in rural areas. I feel that the cycle of indebtedness of developing countries is a major contributor to hunger and poverty, and note with sorrow that debt forgiveness is not being implemented in accordance with the expediency and urgency of the need.
I have recognize that in spite of progress made in basic education, inequity based on economic and social conditions, sex and disabilities continues to persist, leaving millions of children and young people out of school. We recognize that the quality of basic education needs substantial improvement, and should include life skills and new information technologies.
I am aware of the need for action now to promote sustainable development and conservation and protection of the environment for the benefit of future generations, backed by responsible and sustainable consumption of world resources by nations, communities and individuals.
I am highly concerned about the prevalence of human rights violations with regard to young people, such as child labour, trafficking and sexual exploitation, children and youth in armed conflict and living in countries under occupation, and the exclusion of children and youth infected and affected by AIDS, including those orphaned by it.
I am very concerned that sixty-six million young people are reported to be unemployed throughout the world, representing more than 40 percent of global unemployment, and that hundreds of millions more work fewer hours than they wish, and still others, work long hours with little gain and no social protection in the informal economy.
I am convinced of the importance of providing young people with the resources and enabling environment to tackle the personal and societal challenges that beset it.
Distinguished Chairman, I wish to state that much remains to be done in fostering social integration, and call upon governments to implement resolutions adopted during the Copenhagen Social Summit, as well as the Copenhagen + 5 Summit. Youth at risk of marginalization include among others: young women and men with disabilities, indigenous youth, ethnic and cultural minority youth, youth affected by violence including gender-based violence and by drug and substance abuse, child soldiers, refugees and migrants and young offenders.
In the light of the above, I have choose to based my assertion in this particular session of the International Science and Social Council Conference to identifying and advocating for initiatives that empower young people to have greater control over their individual and collective destinies, and their ability to effectively contribute to the advancement of the global community.
Therefore, I want to ultimately call upon Governments, the United Nations System and civil society organizations to support young people in their endeavors to obtain the resources for extensive and comprehensive youth empowerment programmes in Nigeria and Worldwide; of this quest, I have therefore identified the following youth empowerment strategies as a radical approach towards sound legal framework for social security and social development for youth in Nigeria, Africa and her Diaspora:
Education and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
In order to guarantee universal access to primary, secondary and higher education as formulated in the Braga Youth Action Plan and the Dakar Education For All Forum (April 2001), I wish to recommend to the International social science council and intergovernmental bodies involved in youth policy or policies and governments:
(a) An increase in technical, technological, material and financial support through the establishment of an Education and ICT fund, which promotes North - South and South - South cooperation, national, regional and international networking, and government and private partnerships of ICT training centres, and support specific youth voluntary services in the fields a both formal and non formal education and ICT;
(b) The creation of peer education and exchange programmes and policies to encourage and improve the equitable, free and easy use of ICT in underdeveloped rural, urban and remote areas;
(c) The establishment of vocational schools at a community level, the creation of Internet cafes, distance learning centres, the training of trainers, and the development of re-training programmes;
(d) The enhancement of existing mass media and interconnected radio, television and Internet for improved education processes.
In order to mobilize resources and ensure universal and equitable access to education worldwide, youth must engage in advocacy to support policies that:
(a) Improve the quality and access of education and ICT by means of giving a priority to education and ICT and waving of taxes on ICT materials intended for free community use;
(b) Create government and private partnerships, global cooperation and regional strategies to promote ICT in education;
(c) Increase the budget for education and ICT in the respective national budgets, expressed as a percentage of the GDP;
(d) Eliminate school fees, and support children through grants to ensure that they do not leave school in order to work;
(e) Stimulate non-governmental and United Nations cooperation;
(f) Implement of bilateral and multilateral debt relief for a better and broader ICT programme implementation;
(g) Reduce the prices of ICT material and training;
(h) Encourage the local production of educational and ICT content and access to content;
(i) Create policies to address the special needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups.
In order to empower young people and close the digital divide, it is necessary that youth understand ICT. ICT must be used as media for the dissemination of information about such important issues as HIV/AIDS prevention and de-stigmatization, personal hygienic and maintenance of sanitary conditions, environmental problems and matters of cultural and social nature having a practical impact on the every day life of young people.
Recognizing the urgent need to create decent work for young people, an action plans on youth employment, and to, ensure strong involvement of young people in this process. These action plans should take into account the recommendations of the World Youth Forum as well as an analysis of the international dimensions of employment a-s call for by the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly entitled “World Summit for Social Development and Beyond: Achieving Social Development for All in a Globalizing World.”
Recognize that there are too many young people lacking the necessary education and training for good productive jobs, too few jobs and too many unproductive jobs with poor remuneration and security.
I am recognising to the ISSC as follows;
1. An increase in investment in relevant skills training, emphasizing training appropriate to the job market and the informal sector by among other things, greater collaboration between employers and training providers;
2. The more effective promotion of entrepreneurship among young women and men by the provision of better information on market opportunities, training in business skills, access to capital (credit and other financial services), mentoring by qualified persons, and other business support services; and
3. The establishment of a social floor for young people by improving their working conditions, promoting their rights at work and recognizing their voice and representation at work, and guarantee a minimum income which covers life costs to protect the working poor, in keeping with the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (see also recommendation 9 of the Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Youth Employment).
There is a need to guarantee the freedom of association and the right to strike for young working people. There is also a need for taxes to be imposed on large international financial flows of multinational companies between countries.
I am very much aware also, gravely concerned with the accumulation of international debt, particularly by developing countries, which creates a burden to be borne by young people and future' generations. I call for continuing the process of debt cancellation by bilateral and multilateral creditors, and in that context, for ensuring social development, are substantively addressed by Poverty Reduction Strategies developed by Highly Indebted Poor Countries, and also that young women arid men are full consulted in the development of these strategies. Therefore, the call for the allocation of a portion of the corresponding resources from the reconversion of developing countries' debts to funds to be co-managed by young people, that will be used to better integrate young women and men into labour markets and to programmes to create job opportunities.
A fundamental element of youth empowerment is access of young people to policy-making bodies at local, national and international levels. In this framework, I wish to challenge the International Labour Organization (ILO) to develop a Global Agenda for Employment. In furtherance to call for strong participation of youth in the Global Employment Forum being organized by the ILO in Geneva in November 2001 to elaborate this Agenda.
Mobility and migration of labour towards areas of high employment cannot be denied or stopped. It causes, for instance, xenophobia, exploitation and a de-unionized labour force. A legal framework should be drawn up internationally to contain and manage this notion.
Health and population
Recognizing that young people should take an active role in conceptualization, decision making, implementation and evaluation of health policies, and organize themselves at various levels to create effective networks and develop skills to mobilize resources in order to implement the following recommendations,
Requesting local, national, international government bodies, agencies of the United Nations System, school systems and health service organizations to support youth participation in creating, implementing and evaluating policies and programs pertaining to youth health issues,
Taking into consideration that HIV/AIDS is decimating our generation, that lack of education and information stigmatization and negative taboos have increased the vulnerability of youth, and that the public and private sector, national governments and the international community, including bodies such as the United Nations and all NGOs must take action in stopping the HV/AIDS,
Ask governments and the United Nations system for access to national and international resources in order to establish formal and informal programs of education on HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, sexual and reproductive health and mental health,
Improve and recognize the role of peers through reinforcement of capacities of intervention of young people at the same time on a technical, material and financial level,
Affirm the important role that families in all forms, peers and communities play in creating an environment conducive to the development of skills leading to healthier lives,
Permit me at this point, to inform you that, it is time for young people to participate actively in the conceptualization, decision-making, implementation and evaluation processes to,
- Create effective youth-focused networks;
- The creation, development and support of free disease assistance for everybody (including care treatment and vaccinations);
- Prepare and disseminate statistical data which illustrate the health situation of young people to NGOs, local and national governments, international bodies, and youth themselves;
- Demonstrate to the system of the United Nations, governments and NGOs the positive impact of youth participation in the promotion of healthier behaviours and practices.
Governments to commit themselves to implementing participatory policies that ensure:
- Free access for young people to health information, education, health sector [in particular sexual and reproductive health and mental health] services in order to avoid STls and HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies, to prevent illegal abortion, substance abuse and mental illness,
- Implementation of policies that promote a multi-sectoral approach to health that responds better to the specific needs of young people,
- Equal opportunities and rights to all children and youth without distinction as to age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, -Mobilization of resources to implement the recommendations adopted by UNGASS on HIV/AIDS of 2001, especially those recommendations pertaining directly to rights arid needs of young people,
- To consider the fight against HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and suicide as a priority in promoting the health of young people,
- To combat female genital mutilation and violence against women; Awareness Raising NGOs, local and national governments, international bodies, and youth themselves to:
- Support and sustain youth-empowering community-based peer-education activities to raise awareness on questions regarding the health of young people on HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, sexual and reproductive health] in both formal and informal sectors, and this with special attention to taboos and traditional socio-cultural beliefs that have negative effects and to traditional socio-cultural beliefs that have positive effects,
- Recognize the fundamental role that young people, families, teachers, and communities play in raising youth awareness on all health, including mental, sexual and reproductive health, issues,
Recall to mind that awareness-raising campaigns should reinforce positive behaviours and seek to transform negative practices in a-constructive and positive way in all young people including marginalized and excluded youth.
Hunger, Poverty and Debt
In order to empower young people in rural and urban areas to combat hunger and poverty especially of youth they need to be provided with the necessary resources and capacities In order to create employment and raise an income for their own sustainable livelihoods, Priority should be given to rural youth greatly affected by hunger and poverty through specific programmes and funding involving the provision of production resources such as land, water and seeds, of appropriate technologies and the training on sustainable farming, life skills and natural resource management. The United Nations, United Nations bodies and agencies, governments and regional organizations should, make decisive efforts to establish a fund for the development of youth, to be managed by youth and geared towards youth.
Education, training and capacity building of youth are of paramount importance in the provision of a long-term strategy to minimize the effects of hunger and to eradicate poverty. To combat illiteracy free basic education has to go along with the creation of an enabling environment that accommodates the needs of young people. Curricula for both basic education and training should not only cover the intellectual aspect of human development but also practical and social skills. Special programmes should be designed for illiterate out of school youth. Capacities should be built for youth to effectively respond to the challenging global problems like climate change, land degradation, loss of biodiversity, HIV/AIDS, increasing marginalizing of vulnerable groups, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the instability of the international financial systems a Culture of Peace.
Peace is not just an absence of war, but also a state of mind, individual or collective, a social cultural, political and economic harmony. Peace is also a way of being, a way of living. Hence, to build a true culture of peace we need to develop justice, respect of human rights, to fight against poverty. We need to favour intercultural dialogue, which should be among civilizations, and to empower minorities and fight marginalization and exclusion. As youth, and bearing in mind the above, it is our challenge to be determined to increase our influence and our out spoken conclusion to our governments concerning the dialogue to build a culture of peace. Therefore, I support the following concrete proposals to support youth against oppression: let me also let you into the recognise number of existing obstacles for the realisation of a true culture of peace. We wish to underline the following elements:
Armed conflict and trafficking and circulation of weapons; The interference of outside economic and financial interests in developing countries as causes of conflict and exploitation; Intolerance, illiteracy and discrimination in all areas.
We call upon a network of young people that are involved with United Nations agencies to begin conflict resolution on all levels in a bilateral way. The three recommendations we propose to achieve this is by:
- To form a youth network this could generate mechanisms to ensure the participation of young representatives in reconciliation process, negotiation and peace building;
- To demand compensation and justice for slavery, colonization and marginalization as crimes against humanity;
To develop and support the education of a culture of peace in programmes of schools in all levels.
I wish to call upon the OIDA and ICIRL and other governments globally to put in place mechanisms to hinder acts of and intentions to commit genocide and, to severely punish perpetrators of genocide.
Furthermore, I call for the protection of the material and non-material heritage of countries and restitution of spoilage cultural goods.
Youth Policy. Participation and Rights
The OIDA and ICIRL and other Policy Institutions system should improve its way of communicating with youth organizations, guaranteeing that any meeting or consultation fulfils the criteria of being affordable, respecting the existing democratic and legitimate channels of youth, and should grantee implementation and evaluation. Let me reiterate the call for national governments to include youth representatives, selected by youth in. an open and democratic manner, in their delegations to the United Nations General Assembly and all other intergovernmental meetings. The United Nations for African Youth Development Unit, with the assistance of youth organizations experienced in this area, should serve as a clearing-house for information for youth organizations to lobby their governments for these youth representative positions. There should be increased representation of youth within the Youth Unit itself through a system of placements of members of youth organizations, as well as increased status for the Youth Unit within the United Nations system to coordinate all youth participation in the United Nations system and other institutionalized body.
National governments should implement legislation to protect human rights, as they relate to youth, including protecting rights to participation in decision-making, access to quality education fostering responsible citizenship, and access to human rights education.
Financial support, training and facilities need to be provided at a local, national and international level in order to ensure young peoples active participation in decision-making, and development activities and programmes. We further recommend that governments design and implement programs that can build the institutional capacity of youth organizations. Let us all signify our various support in the creation of independent and democratic local and national youth councils, as well as regional platforms where they do not exist.
Young Women and Girls
In this spirit, let us encourage all stakeholders to invest in compulsory and free education at all levels for girls, adolescents and young female, both in formal and non-formal environments. There is a need to involve girls and young women in the design, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes that target youth. We demand cost reduction for contraceptives and AIDS treatment, and prevention/treatment for STDs. We call for the improvement of knowledge, research and data, qualitative and quantitative, on the needs of adolescent's girls and young women.
It is crucial to break stereotypes in education by raising awareness the role and contribution of girls and young women in society. Youth organizations should mobilize governments to offer economic incentives or policies to increase girls' education. Young women's positive image should be enhanced by encouraging young women who have education in science and math to be used as role models and mentors.
Youth, sports and leisure Time Activities
Sports, leisure activities, such as leisure sports, cultural leisure activities and traditional forms of leisure, socio-educational leisure activities, and even paid entertainment allow individuals to manage their free time without constraints. Even in difficult situations, these activities give young people the opportunity to entertain themselves, to relax, to play, and to find cultural enrichment. Furthermore, sports and leisure activities give young people the possibility of self-expression, personal fulfillment, and personal development as an individual and as a member of a group. In addition, sports and leisure activities can raise awareness in young people that can inspire them to contribute to the improvement of their living conditions through volunteerism.
These activities should be available to all young people without exclusion based on gender, religion or social condition. It favours social inclusion, including for young people with special needs.
Youth structures and associations should be granted by the United Nations organizations and others with human, material and economic assistance, necessary for the realization of different activities especially those related to the development of sports, leisure time activities, and socio-educative activities.
The OIDA and ICIRL should encourage international organizations and NGOs to work directly on grassroot levels through youth associations for the development of sports; culture, traditional activities and socio-cultural activities.
The OIDA and ICIRL should encourage, promote, and find ways to recognize the participation of young voluntary workers in different organizations, NGOs and youth associations. Moreover, OIDA and ICIRL should take care of the security of young volunteers and promote all training facilities and technical assistance for their work.
Also, we wish to encourage sport programs that are especially for disabled people and encourage the participation of disabled people in the regular sports activities at all levels among others.
It's on this cutting that I have the pleasure to rest my case and hope that, the world will be a better society if the present Leaders can stop the encroachment on the future of the younger generation and the unborn generation to come.
FOR THE LOVE OF OUR CHILDREN!
Thank you all,