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“On our way to World Youth Conference 2014″

Madusha ErandiSri Lanka will host the World Youth Conference in 2014, writes Madusha Erandi, 21, a Correspondent from Colombo in Sri Lanka, who says the Conference will focus on giving youth a stronger role in decisions and policy that create real change in society.

We had no time for leisure after the Commonwealth Youth Forum. Since the CYF hosted in Sri Lanka last November, youth activists in the country have been determined to ensure the success of the World Youth Conference coming up in March 2014.

United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon, at the 67th UN general assembly in New York, officially informed the Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development, Dullas Alahapperuma, that the World Youth Conference 2014 will be held in Sri Lanka with the full support of the United Nations.

It is important to state a few words about the conference from a Sri Lankan perspective as the hosting country. Primarily, there is the theme of the World Youth Conference. Following up on Ban Ki-moon’s statement that “youth should be given a chance to take an active part in the decision-making of local, national and global levels”, the fundamental basis of the conference is to strengthen the youth role in decision-making processes regarding the post- 2015 development agenda.

Recently a public lecture was conducted by Dr. Palitha Kohona, the permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, about the importance of the World Youth Conference in mainstreaming youth in the next Global Development Agenda. This event was facilitated with a panel discussion by representatives of UN and civil societies.

“While intended to strengthen the integration and attention to youth issues in the work of the entire UN system, these mechanism also serve to ensure voices of youth are present in the development of the post-2015 Development Agenda,” UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka Una McCauley told the forum.

These few words outline the intended outcome of the upcoming conference and emphasize the practical aspects. With these words, a proper mechanism should focus on how the youth will actively engage in the process of achieving the goals post- 2015.

Furthermore, it is worthwhile to concentrate on details about the key targets of the WYC. They start with extreme poverty and extend to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS. Knowing the Millennium Development Goals or theoretically knowing them by memory alone will not bring out any resulting effect.

Take the goal of achieving universal primary education. Drafting policy papers or discussion at round tables will not teach anything to little kids who live in rural areas. In Sri Lanka, for example, we have talented and skillful individuals whose talents remain hidden and who exist unknown to anyone because their lack of English means they don’t have an opportunity to engage with the intellectual society. It is common in most of the Asian countries where there are families who do not have opportunities give their children proper language skills. Yet these are the most valuable human resources in a country. As nations if we do not make use of those resources effectively, it will cause a negative impact in achieving the goals such as promoting gender equality and working toward the global partnership for development. This shows how the lack of effectiveness of one goal creates a hurdle in meeting other goals as well.

According to statistics a considerable number of people all over the world live below the poverty line. Changing the economic policies of governments can positively affect the people’s economy. There is actually no use in confining it to a sheet of paper, but countries should in practical sense work toward the reduction of income disparities.

Moreover, fundamental human rights of people should be ensured. This can be done only by changing the attitudes of people, and by securing the independence of the judiciary. Thus, it is the responsibility of the governments to take proper actions immediately and make strategies.

This is the change we expect. This is what we are working for, and the well-being of people in an economically developed and socially balanced society will be the positive anticipation of the next generation. All efforts made toward the upcoming World Youth Conference will not be a waste if we actively participate in implementing the policies.

A few delegates from each country will not be sufficient to implement the goals, but those hands can strengthen the arms of youth in many nations to work for a world where everyone can live for each other.    

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 About me: I am determined and ambitious; ready to take up any challenge. A former journalist, I’m studying law at University of Colombo and doing freelance writing. I believe the youth is the fruitful future of any country and the positive anticipation of the developing world.

I love observing people, their nature and writing about them. I am a wannabe photographer. I swim, do athletics, and sing. I consider myself as a genuine social worker. Writing is simply my passion. 

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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