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72ma UNGA – Meeting della Terza Commissione sullo Sviluppo Sociale

Discorso pronunciato dai Delegati Italiani della Gioventu’ alle Nazioni Unite, Giuseppina De Marco and Tommaso Murè, al meeting della Terza Commissione della 72ma UNGA sullo Sviluppo Sociale —

Mr. President, Distinguished delegates,

Italy aligns itself with the statement made by the representative of the European Union and wishes to add a few remarks in a national capacity.

We are honored to be here today as the first Youth Delegates of Italy to the United Nations.

Let us express our gratitude to the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for launching the Programme. Finally, to our Alma Mater, the University of Bologna and University Roma Tre for supporting us.

In thinking about our role as Youth Delegates, we asked ourselves something that most of you may be wondering: what added value can young people like us bring to the discussions in this Committee?

We are not yet career diplomats, experts or envoys. Nevertheless, we are part of the youth that, every day, gives meaning to the goals of 2030 Agenda and whose shoulders carry the weight of an uncertain future.

As representatives of the Italian Youth, we would first like to recognize the recent progresses made by Italy on youth-related issues and the SDGs.

Italy attaches the utmost importance to the obligations and commitments of all States to implement the SDGs in conformity with international law, in particular using a human-rights based approach. Indeed, social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and the maintenance of peace and security among nations. In recent months, the Italian government has made great strides in tailoring its national policies to the 2030 Agenda. In particular, we welcome:

• The National Sustainable Development Strategy, where Italy identifies socio-economic development and environmental protection as interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development. A key turning point for the Strategy is that young people are no longer only considered a vulnerable part of society, but also “actors of change”;

• The Plan for Education on Sustainability, which for the first time aims to include sustainable development in our national education curricula. Indeed, social protection means that universal access to social services, in particular health and education, with a focus on poor and marginalized communities, should be ensured to address and reduce inequality and social exclusion;

• The transformation of the Italian Civil Service from national to universal, giving young Italians the opportunity to volunteer abroad, as well as welcoming young foreigners to serve in our country. Engaging beyond national borders is the first step toward growing the global citizens of tomorrow that will be able to achieve the global goals we have set out today.

Lastly, Italy believes that younger generation can provide a concrete contribution to international peace and security. In order to do so in an effective way, youth need to be adequately informed and updated on major international commitments and initiatives. To this aim, Italy deems fundamental to promote among Italian students the principles of the Responsibility to Protect, one of the Italian top priorities of its mandate on the Security Council, in order to raise awareness among Italian students about civic engagement as a tool to prevent mass atrocities. We are thus working on a project together with the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research and we will share the lessons learnt with the UN Member States. To further confirm our strong commitment, the Italian government’s has recently donated $100,000 (USD) to the Global Centre for Responsibility To Protect.

On the international level, the Italian government showed its concrete commitment to youth empowerment, not only launching the UN Youth Delegate Programme, but also donating $400,000 (USD) to the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth to support its activities.

Mr. President,

In an exceptionally complex world, young people are facing exceptionally difficult challenges. In addressing these challenges, Member States are at a crossroads: the choice is either to make decisions for youth or with youth.

By letting us, Youth Delegates, be here today and involving youth representatives in high level decision-making processes, you have made the choice that will lead to a “more sustainable and inclusive development”.

In this respect, we believe two challenges are of paramount importance for both Italian and global Youth:

Number one: Youth unemployment. The rates of Youth Unemployment are still rising and today a young person is three times more likely to be unemployed.

Number two: the worrisome data regarding the Non (engaged) in Education, Employment or Training young people. The so-called NEET gave up on their future and personal aspirations. They do not see any way or meaning to contribute to society. In developed countries ILO data show a NEET rate of around 25% of youths aged 15-29.

To overlook such a proportion of the youth population would mean to dramatically defeat the ability of our generation to bring about significant change. Can the world afford this?

We are aware that there is no easy solution. However, we cannot stop asking ourselves how we can assure that the potential of the largest generation of youth the world has ever seen does not go to waste.

We strongly believe that the starting point has to be education and civic engagement.
In this regard, a great tool for tackling youth unemployment and NEET rates can be, for instance, non-formal education. By fostering personal, social and professional development, it can largely contribute to keeping young generations engaged, educating them on the importance of a sustainable and peaceful future.

Distinguished delegates,

We welcome further work on the development of national comprehensive systems of Recognition, Validation and Accreditation (RVA) of non-formal and informal learning, establishing a set of standards to share and harmonizing validation practices.

Finally, we encourage the Membership to seriously consider including NEET in this year’s Youth Resolution.

Agenda 2030 promises to leave no one behind, let’s not look away – and let’s let youth be a part of the solution to reaching the SDGs.

Thank You.