I am very pleased that today, we have gathered in the second largest city of Azerbaijan to discuss the future of the world and the region and your country, and your suggestions about how to formulate and implement our development strategy beyond 2015. We decided to visit Ganja, because Ganja is a historical city with a rich and unique culture where most of the population is youth. Ganja is also a vibrant place driven by the spirit of youth with a strong passion for life. Now I know why Ganja is selected to be the 2016 European Youth Capital!
The United Nations, has provided unique opportunities for the people of Azerbaijan and many other countries to share their aspirations for the world they want to live in beyond 2015. The ten findings of the consultations of last year show that people in Azerbaijan want to see the economy of the country diversified, the healthcare system improved, the rural areas developed, Azerbaijani women empowered, etc. One of the findings was dedicated to you: to improve opportunities for youth.
I would like to talk about myself!
When I was young, I always dreamed to see the world the way I wanted it to be. It is a world with well-developed economies that benefit all and in a more equal manner, and happier lives. At that time, we didn’t have an opportunity to make our voice heard in many countries globally. This is one of the reasons why I always wanted to work in the UN to achieve my dream.
But now, it is becoming much easier to participate in the creation of this future world. The United Nations has created for you an unprecedented chance to participate in national consultations, voice your opinion, and build the future world you want.
The situation of youth around the world is challenging. Poverty and limited access to resources, education, healthcare and employment, along with social discrimination, lack of participation in decision-making, violence, conflicts, environmental degradation, and climate change hinder the realization of youth rights and opportunities, within many parts of the world in creating worrying implications for both young people themselves and the society as a whole.
The current debate on the Post-2015 Development Agenda is therefore centered on for young people. The UN wants to make sure youth organizations participate in this process in a manner that upholds their valuable role as development actors. You will contribute to the design of a future global development agenda that is able to deliver on the improvement of the situation of young people around the world and that of your parents and your future children.
You who we consult about a new development framework today will be in your thirties and forties when the currently discussed Development Agenda is fully implemented by 2030. We don’t want you to be just a recipient of the next agenda, but also a close partner to shape the future you will live in. With this aim, the UN and specifically in this case UNDP, in partnership with UNFPA and the National Assembly of Youth Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as with support of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, is implementing the 2nd round of Post-2015 consultations that we begin from Ganja. Let me also use this opportunity to thank the Ganja Executive Committee for hosting this event in your beautiful city.
As part of its ongoing investment in youth, Azerbaijan will host the Global Forum on Youth Policy convened by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth together with UNDP, UNESCO and the Council of Europe in October 2014. The Forum represents a timely initiative to advance youth development in the post-2015 global development agenda.
The UN’s motto is “It is your world!” It is not just simple words, but our desire to reflect all people’s voices and opinions in our activities. So, with that aim, I declare this consultation open for your discussions and suggestions so that the UN might help make your and my dream world a reality.