Youth Participation in the 46th General Assembly of the OAS

Santo Domingo, June 13, 2016 – The young people of the hemisphere had a space today in the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) to present before the Secretary General and the Heads of Delegation their contributes to the 46th General Assembly.

As part of the follow up process to the Young Americas Forum, young people have a space in each General Assembly to present their contributions to the highest authorities of each country.

On this occasion, the theme of the Assembly was “Strengthening Institutions for Sustainable Development.” Adolfo Flores was the appointed spokesperson for the young people gathered at the Youth Dialogue that was held on June 11 within the framework of the Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas (TIC Americas) Finals developed in this city.

The statement that the young spokesperson shared in the General Assembly comes from the contributions developed by over 1,800 young people in 29 national dialogues that took place in distinct member states.

Good morning, my name is Adolfo Flores, I am a 25 year-old young Venezuelan, I have the challenge of representing hundreds of young people that gave their proposals through a number of consultations with the aim of presenting proposals, abandoning any trace of indifference about the problems that plague the young people in this region. In that sense, we hope that the proposals that we make are heard and that they can contribute to sustainable development.

We focus our efforts on topics such as migration, a phenomenon that has multiple causes among which are those associated withcivil insecurity, violence, political instability, and the search for economic wellbeing. We urge governments to orient their policies on dignifying migration with the establishment of cooperation mechanisms, the enactment of laws that combat illegal employment, and that put an end to internal conflicts that prevent the solutions to many of these problems from beingmade visible.

It is important to highlight that this intervention aims to summarize the arduous and fruitful work of twenty-nine (29) Youth Dialogues in Latin America, with the participation of more than 1,800 young people, including some school-aged youth. YABT mobilized a considerable amount of local organizations that supported the development and execution of these activities, including universities, chambers of commerce and local governments.

A Red of the Americas meeting was also conducted online, Youth Voices, that focused on their efforts in building a debate space among young leaders and entrepreneurs, motivated to support the initiative with their ideas and proposals, also sharing examples of inspiring youth that happen to be partners of the YABT and the World Bank global initiatives.

Now, let me now turn to four (4) problems and our contributions that we young people in the region consider necessary efforts of governments in the empowerment of young people.

  1. Citizen Security and Human Rights: The sword of Damocles hangs over the young people across the region who have expressed their deep concern about the violence that is wreaking havoc in some countries. Where young people are both victims and victimizers.

Violence in general, gender violence, drug trafficking and human trafficking are among the many evils that prevent citizen security and the exercising of human rights, the challenge for the governments in the region is to bring all attacks on citizen security and the exercising of human rights to a minimum.

  1. Institutionalization: The respect for and strengthening of institutions as mechanisms for ensuring political, economic, social and cultural rights. Institutions in our countries should not be undermined by corruption, partisanship, the absence of citizen monitoring mechanisms, and the impunity of crimes by public officials, among others. They declare that the solutions to such circumstances would be: Transparency, guaranteed access to information about public measures, the appointment of civil servants who are effectively guaranteeing independence and separation of powers, and thus prevent that in the end eventually become institutional barriers of those who have dissenting opinions.

Ultimately, low levels of institutionalization prevent the possibility of improving health, education and environmental protection in key sectors.

  1. Economic Growth and Social Welfare: Some of the governments in the region have too much control over the economy that prevents private initiative and incentives for private enterprise do not exist. On the other hand, governments whose economies are based on free market competition and concurrency tend not to punish unfair competition, which destroys SMEs and hinders productive development of small businesses.  What we propose: encouraging private enterprise, relax laws that put the economy fully in the hands of the governments and sanction unfair competition in the markets so that they are open to new businesses. We request support for and the endorsement of young entrepreneurs.
  1. Health: It is necessary for governments to make free and quality health care for everyone equally a priority especially in rural areas where the largest amount of illnesses occur especially in children.

The lack of knowledge on reproductive health issues by young people is a matter that should be addressed and included in the educational system, it is for them that these health and education agencies should work together in order to be able to provide adequate formal education of these issues in public and private schools in the countries in the region.

Being Venezuelan, I did not want to fail to mention the situation that particularly affects my country, the lack of medicines and medical supplies that violates the right to health of hundreds of Venezuelans, our proposals center on the government authorizing a humanitarian channel that allows the arrival of the medicines and medical supplies.

Now, returning to the regional level and in conclusion, I would like to emphasize that the youth in the region are aware of these and other problems that they suffer, the real solution should be to fuel efforts of the State and the harmonious and selfless collaboration of civil society organizations. The region is experiencing a turning point where it is appropriate to make relevant decisions that allow the quality of life for young people and therefore society to rise. We believe in building a promising future, the courage to tell the truth that may be uncomfortable for some and the heart that passionately motivates us to construct a livable region with optimal conditions for the development and empowerment of young people.

Thank you

As in each process of the Summit of the Americas and the General Assembly, the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) supports the participation of youth in the official events of the OAS.

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About the Young Americas Business Trust

The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) is an international nonprofit organization, founded in 1999, and Works in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS). YABT supports the objectives of the OAS and the mandates of the Summit of the Americas to develop and implement programs and activities that support youth entrepreneurship and leadership in the countries of the Americas – combating poverty and creating more opportunities for young people.