Being the first Slovenian Youth Delegate, representing the voice of roughly 350.000 young people in Slovenia, it is an honor and great privilege to address this Committee.
A popular slogan in Slovenia claims that »The world stands on young people«. The question that we, the young people, keep asking ourselves however is: On what grounds are WE then standing on? To help answer this question we need to focus on the areas of education, quality employment and youth participation.
Education is a fundamental human right. Quality and efficient formal education remains recognized as a powerful tool, helping to alleviate poverty and contributing to empowerment, especially of young women. Young people are however becoming increasingly aware that formal education can offer only a part of the knowledge and skills needed to effectively transition from schooling to the job market. Non-formal and informal education are being recognized as key factor in enabling young people to realize their learning and research potentials, as well as creativity, innovativeness and other soft skills, these being valued and recognized as a comparative advantage also among employers. Formal, informal and non-formal education are however still insufficiently interlinked, despite their complementarity. It is therefore important to strive to achieve a holistic approach to education by realizing and fully recognizing the potential offered by non-formal education.
Employment is one of the main conditions for a suitable transition from youth to adulthood, enabling young people to develop personal dignity, reach full autonomy and realize personal goals in life. Young people are a very adaptable and educated segment of the work force, showing high potential and efficiency to work. Yet their employment is mostly insecure, based on short, fixed-term or temporary contracts. Such young employees are also often characterized as the »working poor«, because their income is so low that they are more exposed to poverty than other groups. A solution to terminate this dire situation would be to accept sufficient measures that would help promote equal opportunities, fair remuneration, adequate social security and fair working conditions all under the headline of quality employment.
Finally, it is important to stress the need for inclusion of young people into the decision-making processes. The voice of the young people is particularly needed in the context of formation of youth policies, as it gives such policies the needed legitimacy, however, the active voice of young people is needed also on other areas, ranging from political to economic, social and cultural sphere. Coming back to my initial statement that »The world stands on young people« active youth participation is also needed because we, the young people, are the ones who are here, right now, building our present, and we are also going to be the ones helping to build our future. That said, there can be no peace, no prosperity and no progress, without the full and equal participation of young people all over the world.
On this note, allow me to conclude by saying that Slovenia is fully prepared to continue with our efforts, not only domestically, but also through Slovenias active engagement in international efforts to further the rights of older persons as well as to further the inclusion and empowerment of youth.
Thank you for your attention.
Foto: Toby Lior Carmel
Foto: Stalno predstavništvo Republike Slovenije pri OZN
Foto: Miha Pongrac