Third Committee, 2nd plenary meeting – Item 25 “Social Development”
Statement delivered by Giulia Tariello, Italian Youth Delegate to the United Nations
Mr Chair, Excellences, fellow youth delegates,
I am extremely honored to be here as Italian Youth Delegates and speak on behalf of the Italian Delegation, as active participants in the work of the GA’s Third Committee.
Being an active part of society means having the possibility to practice what we, as young students, learn during our academic years. We believe that allowing young people to be actively involved in shaping the future benefits society in two ways: youth can gain more knowledge and experience, and adults can interpret the world from a new perspective they may have forgotten.
Too often, young people feel an ever-increasing distance between themselves and the core bodies where the decision-making process takes place.
This growing mistrust draws young people even further away from participating in public life, making it increasingly difficult to imagine a prosperous future for them to live in. This trend is increasingly growing but must be fought back. Today’s youth, finding it hard to see their ideas come to play, are looking for someone to help them and listen to them. It is like someone unable to start their car engine and going to a mechanic to ask for help.
We need a long-lasting commitment to improve the current dialogue between youth and institutions but how can youth truly feel like they belong to society? By enhancing the educational system and offering courses centered on problems that concern students beyond their control: climate change, access to fundamental human rights for everyone, and education for all.
Italy has stepped up the aforementioned dialogue; in 2021, it organized the Youth4Climate “Driving Ambition” COP26 side event, hosting 400 young participants from all over the world, to pool together ideas and offer a platform to share their proposals to address the climate crisis.
This experience was built upon to organize the Youth4Climate event last week here in New York during the High-Level Week. With a focus on youth participation, it provided an opportunity for young people to be heard by world leaders.
Although we have made significant progress, we still need more commitment to bridge the gap and reverse the trend. Often, institutional communication uses a language that can be perceived as too difficult to internalize, a language that the youth do not deem their own. This hinders youth participation in many otherwise excellent programs, preventing both sides from benefiting from each other’s involvement.
To improve this involvement, the younger students should have access to more information about the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, starting in elementary school, where they can learn how to respect others. Only in this way is it feasible to build a completely new society in which everyone is committed to working together to realize their aspirations for a better future.
These proposals would help to provide the tools that young people need to be aware of their surroundings, how they can shape their present and future, and, most importantly, how they can feel a part of them.
The outstanding work of the UN Youth Envoy and the establishment of a UN Youth Office are the right steps in this direction, as well as the Transforming Education Summit held Two weeks ago here in New York. Transforming is a way to improve knowledge but education must also transform societies.
As it is evident in this hall, the UN and its Member States are giving young people the chance to build their future, directly participating on many occasions: the speeches delivered today are an impressive example. We believe the UN must lead by example allowing young professionals, students, and citizens to participate in decision-making alongside their governments. Young people need to be able to speak into the microphone and not just listen.
To conclude, the path to a better relationship between youth and institutions goes both ways. For projects like Youth4Climate to achieve meaningful progress, both parties must be involved, dedicated and committed.
Being at the forefront of change entails responsibilities and a sense of duty. To start our car, we need fuel and a spark. Achieving youth engagement is the only way to have them both.