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Statement by Mr. Jiang Guangping of Chinese Delegation at the 60th UN General Assembly Plenary Meeting on 10 Year Review of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond

Mr. Chairman, dear colleagues, young friends,

First, please allow me to thank you for chairing this important meeting today. Chinese government and Chinese youth highly appreciate that the 60th General Assembly convenes two plenary meetings to address youth issues.

Young people are not only the future of a country but also the hope of the world. In any era, young people are the most vigorous, creative and pioneering group in society. In today's time with peace and development as the theme, youth is even more an important force to maintain world peace and promote common development. The healthy development of youth is relevant to the harmony of a society, the vitalization of a country and prosperity of the world.

Ten years ago, the 50th UN General Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, which for the first time systematically formulated youth policy framework and action guidelines of universal value. This Program of Action is the most comprehensive and principle guideline document in the youth field adopted by the UN ever since it was founded; it is a milestone in the process of world youth development and a symbol of the gradual internationalization of youth issues.

Ten years later when it happens to be the 60th anniversary of the UN, the General Assembly convenes this plenary meeting to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond and evaluate globally the implementation of this Programme, to reiterate our commitment to the youth, and express our resolution to protect youth's interests and rights and serve their development. This meeting is of great significance as it concerns the prospect of the undertaking of youth development and its international cooperation. We know that we are shouldering great and long-term responsibilities.

The past decade is a significant decade for China's reform, opening-up and modernization process. It is also an important decade for the development process of Chinese youth. Over the past ten years, Chinese government and leaders continuously pay great attention to youth issues. With reference to the ten priorities identified in the World Programme of Action on Youth, the government has established successively various cross-cutting organs on youth issues, including the State Council Working Committee of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment and the Leading Group on the Work of Juvenile Delinquency Prevention. Chinese legislative organs amended the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Minors and stipulated the Law of People's Republic of China on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, so as to provide legal and institutional guarantee for youth development and the protection of young people's rights and interests. Furthermore, both the sustained and rapid development of Chinese economy and the vast investment of the Chinese government in the areas of education, employment, health, culture and sports have provided the Chinese youth development with conditions better than that of any pervious period, making the overall quality of Chinese youth achieve great improvement in the decade and promote youth participation in social development to an unprecedented level.

Under the support and encouragement of Chinese government, youth organizations at all levels with Communist Youth League of China and All-China Youth Federation at the core, have united the vast group of young people and provided a strong organization backing to their healthy development, through implementing concrete and effective projects, organizing rich and diversified activities and conducting far-reaching influential campaigns. Chinese youth organizations stipulated in time the Strategic Development Plan of the Youth Work in the Process of Building a Better-off Society in an All-round Way, conducted a series of well-known youth projects focusing on the priorities of the World Programme of Action on Youth, which has effectively served the growth and development of young people and driven the economic development and social progress.

In the filed of education, the All-China Youth Federation launched the Project Hope, which aims to help poor children who drop out of school. Since its launch in 1989, Project Hope has raised social funds of more than2.7 billion RMB yuan, helped 2.75 million poor students to complete their study, renovated and built more than 10,000 Hope Primary Schools. In the field of environmental protection, the All-China Youth Federation launched the Mother River (Yellow River) Protection Operation in cooperation with other eight governmental departments. Since its launch in1999, it has raised social funds of 250 million RMB yuan, mobilized more than 300 million young people to participate in ecological and environmental protection, and planted trees covering a total area of 258,000 hectares. To commend the outstanding achievements of Chinese youth in environmental protection, the UNEP granted the All-China Youth Federation and its honorary president Mr. Zhou Qiang the 1st Champion of Earth award in 2005. In the field of employment, the All-China Youth Federation launched the Chinese Youth Entrepreneurship Campaign. Over the six years, it has provided business skills training for nearly 400,000 young people, helped almost 90,000 young people start their own businesses and offered job opportunities to more than 1.1 million unemployed or laid-off workers. In the field of voluntary service, the All-China Youth Federation and Chinese Young Volunteers Association jointly launched the Chinese Young Volunteers Scheme. Over ten years, the projects mobilized 150 million young people to provide more than 4.5 billion hours of voluntary service to the society. All these activities have provided not only a platform for Chinese youth to achieve self-development and participate in the society, but also successful experiences on how to implement the World Programme of Action on Youth, which are highly recognized by international society including the UN system

However, various contradictions and problems brought by the rapid development of economy and society also affected unavoidably the development of young people. The emergence of a series of problems such as youth unemployment, juvenile delinquency and inter-generational relationship, has evoked new challenges to the government, family and society. Being closely linked to the actual situation of China, these problems are characterized with Chinese features. On the other hand, we also found, while conducting comparative study on youth problems of different countries, that these problems showed more and more similarity and universal features. Such discovery benefits from the policy framework provided by the World Programme of Action on Youth, as it makes comparative study of youth problems of different countries possible. The developing trend of world youth problems deserves our attention and analysis, as well as our joint efforts to find solutions.

Compared with young people in previous generations, today's young people are faced with more diversified opportunities, and at the same time, more complicated challenges. In such a crucial historic era when opportunities coexists with challenges, all countries of the world should unite together, grasp opportunities, respond to challenges, pay attention to influences brought by the economic globalization to young people, consistently enhance investment on youth and youth organizations, deepen cooperation on youth issues and promote common development of young people in the world. Here I would like to put forward some suggestions as follows:

Firstly, attach great importance to youth issues and the role of youth in a perspective of long-term development.

At present, young people under 24 years old account for nearly half of the world population. Being vigorous with rich imagination and lofty ideal, they are an important force as well as a partner for the peace and development undertaking of humankind. The improvement of their education, employability and social participation decides directly the sustainable development capability and long-term prospects of a country and a society. Therefore, government of each country shall enhance the sustained investment on youth in a perspective of long-term development to ensure that young people can get quality education equally, realize full employment and actively participate in social life. Furthermore, governments should support the development of youth organizations, bring into play the network and mobilization strength of these organizations so as to improve their capability to lead and serve young people.

Secondly, pay attention to the influence of economic globalization on young people and take appropriate measures.

Economic globalization is a double-edged sword to young people. On one hand, they are the first group of people who experienced the influence of economic globalization, and benefited a lot from the information and communication technologies. On the other hand, more and more young people, especially those from developing countries, are abandoned by the wave of economic globalization, and cannot utilize those opportunities provided by globalization. The succeeding problems like youth unemployment and underemployment, poverty and mobility lead to the emergence of a large group of marginalized youth. This forms a potential trouble for the social harmony and security. International society shall pay special attention to the adverse influence caused by globalization to these marginalized youth, protect their rights and interests, and create an environment for them to equally utilize the opportunities brought by globalization.

Thirdly, enhance international cooperation in the undertaking of promoting youth development.

Looking back into the long history of humankind, the fates of people from different countries have never being connected as closely as in nowadays. The issue of youth development also exceeds beyond the boundaries and becomes part of the global development goal. We are delighted to see that the international cooperation in the field of youth development has been strengthened gradually, with the joint efforts from member states and relevant UN agencies. China highly appraises such a progress and appeals to all countries to jointly promote the undertaking of youth development, conduct comprehensive international cooperation in the youth field, enhance the dialogue and exchange between developed countries and developing countries on youth issues and promote the common development of the world youth.

Young people are not only the tomorrow of the world, but also today of the world. The progress of human civilization relies on youth and continues by youth. Let us join hands and cooperate together, making endeavors to build a harmonious world with lasting peace, common prosperity and supportive environment for the growth and development of young people.

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