UN-Jugendelegierte Miriam Egger ist nach New York gereist, um vor der UNO-Generalversammlung Österreichs Jugend zu vertreten. Ihre Rede vor den Vereinten Nationen handelte von wirksamer Jugendbeteiligung.
Seit zehn Jahren entsendet die Bundesjugendvertretung ehrenamtliche Jugenddelegierte zur UN-Generalversammlung. Im heurigen Jubiläumsjahr des Programmes reiste Miriam Egger als UN-Jugenddelegierte nach New York. Als offizieller Teil der österreichischen Delegation vertritt sie dort die Anliegen junger Menschen auf höchster internationaler Ebene. Highlight ist dabei eine eigene Rede, die sie vor der Generalversammlung gehalten hat.
Honourable chair, Excellencies, fellow delegates.
It is a privilege to address you today as Austria’s 9th Youth Delegate to the United Nations.
As you can see, I am wearing glasses. Without them, the world around me would be blurry and I wouldn’t be able to see the whole picture. Today, I invite you to hypothetically put on your glasses and try to get a clearer vision of a truly youth-inclusive world.
Because the picture of us – young people – often seems to be a bit blurry to the ones holding power: We are often being told that we are too young, too untaught, and too inexperienced and it seems that therefore decisions that affect us are often made without us. However, over half of the world’s population is under 30. By not putting on your glasses and allowing this blurred vision, half of the world’s population with all their needs and desires remains unseen and the immense potential of half of the world’s population – of us young people – remains locked. By not including us you risk the global loss of the civic voices of a generation.
We are hopefully following and welcoming processes advancing the rights and participation of young people such as national and regional youth strategies and advancements on the international level. This year we mark 15 years of the right to vote on all political levels from the age of 16 in Austria. This year also marks the European year of youth. We appreciate the UN youth strategy “Youth 2030”, the work of the youth envoy and her office as well as the newly adopted resolution on the establishment of a UN Youth Office. We appreciate and can see the efforts out there and how the hard work of everyone stepping up for young people does pay off. But what we can also see, looking at young people from all around the world, is that it is not enough.
During the last one and a half years, I consulted and engaged with youth from all over Austria as well as connected with youth delegates from all around the world – I put on my glasses to see them more clearly. I truly listened to what they had to say and learned about their wishes and concerns as well as ideas for the present and visions for the future. And I also saw how they already contribute to a better society every day and still, a blind eye is being turned to them. I dedicate this statement to them and all unseen youth around the world.
I want you to put on your glasses to truly see the young girl I met from Upper Austria, who told me crying that she was afraid of the future after experiencing severe weather events. However, not only her – see the millions of young people around the world suffering from the negative effects of the climate crisis.
See a young woman from the Austrian countryside who shared with me her deep wish that equality of all genders is no longer just a phrase but a lived reality. And see youth around the globe voicing their concerns that we are drifting away from our goal of an inclusive society.
I want you and we need you to see the issues that young people are facing and to notice that they are aware of the world’s greatest challenges AND loud, bold and full of ideas to meet these challenges, wishing and demanding to be seen and included. I want you to see that young people are tired of youth washing, of being used as a nice photo-op and just needed for tokenism. We need you to see that we – as young people – are no silent bystanders in seeing the deterioration of our common home, financial crises, pandemics or war. We are already part of the solution.
Therefore, investing in young people, unlocking their potential and strengthening youth participation is essential to letting intergenerational collaboration flourish and achieving a more equal, just and sustainable reality for all of us.
This is my vision: Our next chapter as one where space is expanding and one where all young people in all their diversity can participate inclusively and sustainably and have real, meaningful and substantial power. A chapter where we acknowledge the tremendous potential of young people and include them as experts who fully comprehend their living realities.
What if we can make this vision come true?
I – in my capacity as a UN youth delegate – ask you now: please clear your vision. It’s time to create a picture where we as young people are encouraged in our dreams, plans, goals and ideas and thus reassured that every single person in our society matters! I ask you now to use your power to join this effort.