Tue | Apr 16, 2024

Youth urged to play active role in shaping Ja’s future

Published:Wednesday | October 25, 2023 | 12:10 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Writer
From left: Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith and Foreign Affairs State Minister Alanda Terrelonge greet Ian Stein, resident coordinator ad interim at the Office of the United Nations (UN) during a session to mark UN Day at the Ministry of Forei
From left: Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith and Foreign Affairs State Minister Alanda Terrelonge greet Ian Stein, resident coordinator ad interim at the Office of the United Nations (UN) during a session to mark UN Day at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in downtown Kingston on Tuesday.

As the world celebrated the 78th anniversary of the United Nations (UN), young people were on Tuesday called upon to be the drivers of sustainable development.

World UN Day – which marks the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the UN Charter entered into force – was observed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade with the participation of youth from 17 schools across the island.

Ian Stein, resident coordinator ad interim at the Office of the UN, noted that young people did not only represent the best of a nation’s aspirations, but that they represented the UN as a whole.

He encouraged the students to continue holding their government and associated organisations accountable in order to ensure that they honour their national commitments.

“In this vehicle towards sustainable development, you are not passengers. We believe in your capacity to take the wheel. Your voices are critical and [are] needed to help shape decisions and [form] the partnerships that are needed to achieve Vision 2030 Jamaica,” he said, referencing Jamaica’s long-term strategic developmental plan.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 16 and 17 were the primary focus of the day’s discussion segment. SDGs are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. SDG 16 speaks to peace, justice, and strong institutions while SDG 17 addresses partnerships for the goals.

PROVIDING SUPPORT

Stein further stated that the UN was “committed to being a steady partner for Jamaica” and that as such, it would continue to provide support for collaboration and assistance to achieving Vision 2030 Jamaica.

He also noted that the UN represented the interests of people and governments, and that it was the youth’s collective responsibility to help build Jamaica.

Alando Terrelonge, the foreign affairs state minister, remarked that the youth are essential to the development of the nation, region, and world.

“Each of you plays a critical role in promoting awareness about the work of this very unique organisation,” he said of the UN.

He recognised the UN Association of Jamaica, educators, students, and representatives from the UN as important partners to assist in the work being done in Jamaica, owing to their unwavering commitment to multilateralism, which is essential to ensuring that “cooperation is encouraged, and injustices and inequalities are repulsed”.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith noted the importance of the UN’s role in the world and more so for developing countries such as Jamaica.

She described the organisation as a “global forum” and a “tool and a source of hope”, given its assistance in helping to advocate and discover solutions to the common problems of countries that would not have a global voice otherwise.

The UN, she said, is the only institution that helps with uniting the international community to ensure that the voices of smaller countries are heard as it also “promotes international peace and security, fundamental human rights and freedoms and economic and social development”.

“The essence of the UN is that it provides a forum of equals, a forum where all member states – large and small, developed and developing – have an opportunity to speak to the issues that concern us as a family,” she said.

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com