Statement by UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth
Youth and development
EU development ministers discussed youth and development together with Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary General's Envoy on Youth.
For the European Union, investing in youth is key. Be it in Africa or in the Mediterranean, we set up fora for helping the voice of young people to be heard. In our meeting today we discussed at length of the importance of generational changes also within political institutions and of the need for the young people to be part of the decision making processes.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
The Envoy outlined her vision and priorities for strengthening youth engagement. She underlined the need to avoid shying away from giving youth responsibility and empowering them with the necessary skills and access to institutions so they can make a difference in policy making. She described the social, economic and political barriers facing young people, particularly young girls. She outlined 6 recommendations for the way forward: 1) consider youth economic empowerment as a highway to social inclusion and other rights, 2) focus on transnational challenges, 3) ensure youth understand the value of multilateralism, 4) engage youth in politics and reduce the age gap between those who govern and the governed, 5) guarantee funding for youth in the long term, and 6) include youth in policy making at a horizontal level.
Ministers acknowledged that youth and youth organisations are essential social actors and that work should be done to advance their public role and to recognise them as equal partners. They agreed that all development action should have future generations as a priority.
They also agreed that youth should be increasingly involved in the design, implementation and review of national and local policies, and that barriers to their social, economic, cultural and political insertion should be removed. Ministers also undertook to step up efforts to reduce the particular barriers facing young people, in particular young girls.
2030 agenda for sustainable development
Ministers discussed how to maintain momentum for the 2030 agenda and climate change in 2019 in view of the high-level political forum on sustainable development (8-19 July 2019), and the Climate Summit (23 September) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit (24-25 September).
They acknowledged that 2019 represents a unique opportunity to step up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda towards achieving the SDGs. They highlighted that it was an important moment for the EU to demonstrate leadership and to guarantee momentum for sustainable development initiatives.
EU development ministers recalled that the 2030 Agenda and the Paris agreement on climate change constitute fundamental elements of the EU's engagement within the global development architecture, and are vital for the EU's long term prosperity.
EU development ministers discussed the Sahel, following the adoption of Council conclusions by foreign ministers on 13 May and the meeting of EU defence and foreign ministers with their counterparts from the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) on 14 May.
They reiterated the Sahel's strategic importance for the EU and underlined the EU's continued commitment to the region, in particular in terms of humanitarian and development aid.
They recognised the importance of the integrated approach, which combines political dialogue, security cooperation (including through CSDP operations and direct support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force), and development aid. EU development ministers explored ways to address the recent deterioration in the security situation, and agreed that the response must be multi-faceted, and should address socio-economic issues as much as security ones.
They acknowledged the urgency in providing basic services to local populations, addressing climate change, and restoring state presence.