Statement by Pakistan on behalf of OIC on the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law First session
“Widening the Democratic Space: the role of youth in public decision-making”
Discussion on creating an enabling environment for the effective participation of youth in public decision-making
21 November, 2016
Pakistan on behalf of OIC would acknowledge the efforts of the OHCHR in organizing this important forum and in bringing stakeholders from various walks of life at one place. We believe that inclusivity is the core principle of democratic decision making and the role of youth who are the future policy makers cannot be ignored. By 2030, the target date for the sustainable development goals, the number of youth is projected to grow by 7 per cent, to nearly 1.3 billion which would make them almost 5th part of the whole population of the world. Therefore, their participation in democratic process and policy making needs to be emphasized.
The Youth are full of energies, brilliant and innovative ideas, passion for positive change, and out of the box solutions, which can be channelized and their capacities harnessed for common good of humanity at large. In order to instil in young people the ideals of human rights, the democratic values and to develop their capacities to participate as responsible and active members of the community, all of which result in promotion of rule of law; we need to first provide them with enabling environment that would bring out the best of their capabilities.
The enablers for bringing youth at the forefront of democratic process and rule of law can be related to social, economic, political, and cultural domains. However, the provision of basic human rights including the right to education, work, health and participation can be the starting point and a means to the end of the active youth engagement in process of sustainable development. These rights have already been guaranteed in many of the international conventions including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the World Programme of Action for Youth and the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Moreover, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and now the Sustainable Development Goals provide strong set of enablers for helping the youth to prepare for the complex set of challenges of the future. The rights based approach can result in development of necessary support programmes for the youth in different spheres.
The active and meaningful participation of youth needs to be ensured by devising policies, plans, and programmes at local, sub-national and national levels. We cannot ensure their positive role in society without giving them necessary tools especially good quality education. Education would be the prime factor in ensuring opportunities for youth in all fields of life and in making them a strong pillar of society. It should encompass both formal and informal education, skill and capacity building programs, leadership trainings, sports and other related activities. The promotion of young women’s participation and presence in places of decision-making at all levels is pivotal for full realization of objective of sustained youth engagement in society.
Only through well integrated youth focused policies can sustainable youth participation be achieved.
I thankyou Mr. Chair.