We are the International Student Delegation of this 18th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. We stand here today proudly representing not only the 120 youth here at the Summit today but the 1.8 billion young people in the world today, 90 percent of whom live in developing countries and are not here to have their voices heard. It is therefore our role, our responsibility, to be the voices of the voiceless and to not simply share our views and concerns on this platform today but to demand that actions be taken on them.
This will be the 5th Youth Declaration that has been delivered on this platform.
In Rome, 2015, Youth from the Summit stood together to encourage Laureates and world leaders to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons, to teach peace in our schools and educational institutions and for Nobel Peace Prize Laureates to remove barriers between each other and collaborate with the youth.
They stated that they “hoped that these would be considered.”
In Barcelona, 2016, the International Student Delegation pleaded with world leaders, Nobel Laureates and delegates to follow the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In Bogota, 2018, Youth of the Summit took this platform and condemned and rejected the divisive ideologies and hate-filled agendas of world leaders that have contributed to the polarization of local, national and global communities. They asked all those at the Summit to listen to their recommendations and, again, ‘hoped’ they would inspire action.
At our previous Summit, held three years ago in Mérida, Youth from that Summit stood here and addressed the crowd as the future change-makers and defined the youth today as hopeful and as visionaries and stated that they “look forward to a brighter future…”.
But the Youth of this summit, the young people of this world right now, we are not standing here asking, encouraging, suggesting, advising or crossing our fingers and hoping for change. We are demanding action. We are not asking for permission; we are not hoping that a committee draft resolution papers to be read years from now or for world leaders to decide that ‘peace’ and ‘youth’ are fashionable and now they want to be a part of the action. We want real commitments to youth, to peace and to the planet and we will not hesitate to make those that are not working for peace accountable.
This Summit’s Youth Program has proven to be highly effective in inspiring a new generation of peacemakers. This Program has focused on Peace Culture and building-bridges and on joint activities that encourage youth to choose peace over conflict, empathy over hate and broad-mindedness over intolerance. We thank you, the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, for consistently committing to youth and to peace and providing us with this space, this platform and these experiences and opportunities. Thank you to all the Nobel Peace Laureates that are actively working to integrate youth into their organisations and networks and thank you to all the young people here today, either physically or virtually.
We wanted to finish by highlighting what we believe to be some of the most important and pressing issues and some practical solutions to them. At the Summit next year, we will reflect on these and check in with each Laureate, world leader and organisation here today to see who was really listening and who is really committed to the young people of this world;
- Human Rights Education:
Human Rights are “a critical foundation of sustaining peace”. The meaningful fulfillment of human rights depends utterly on the effective education of human rights to the youth of the world.
To thus adopt and direct as paramount national, regional and local policy the inclusion of human rights education as embraced by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a permanent element of all primary, elementary, and secondary teacher training and educational curricula in all member nations of the United Nations.
- Environment and Climate Change:
Climate change is considered by many as among the greatest risks for peace and security today. As the planet’s temperature rises, extended droughts, rising sea levels, and more frequent and intense storms are affecting the lives and livelihoods of people in all corners of the globe.
Promoting climate justice and literacy in addressing the climate emergency which includes understanding green career pathways and building a climate-ready workforce will preserve global peace.
We need to engage the youth in activities and projects relating to climate change mitigation, adaptation, relocation, disaster management and collaboration with organisations such as ‘Extinction Rebellion’, ‘School Strikes for Climate’ and ‘The Ocean Clean-Up’.
- Inclusive engagement of youth in the decision-making process:
Young people should no longer be unrepresented and excluded from decisions that will directly impact their present and future prospects for peace. Enhancing the role of youth in Democracy and Governance would accelerate influencing, shaping, designing and contributing to the national, regional and global peace building process and creation of a fairer as well as an inclusive world.
All governments must enable young people to participate in local decision-making and political processes by raising awareness, mentoring, and establishing youth councils and national youth parliaments, as well as ensuring that young people have the space to meaningfully engage in local democracy and that National Youth Councils are truly representative of all youth and youth-led across the country, leaving no one behind.
- Global Health and Well-Being:
In remembrance of those who have fallen to the lack of medical resources, mental health , and the Covid 19 pandemic, we as a delegation will continue to advocate for the pursuit of unity towards global health. Highlighting the fact that youth health is global health, the role of young individuals is pivotal for the future of accessible, global health. Recognizing that many countries have a growing aging population, the current youth are handed the responsibility for multigenerational care.
By advocating for the need of peacemakers and change-makers in health care amongst the current youth, the world will transition into a more global health centric society. We need to encourage the current and future generations to put forth care for human beings, by human beings, regardless of barriers.
- Media Literacy:
The digital age brings so many opportunities and also new challenges not only in the form of misinformation but also disinformation, the intentional dissemination of misleading or false information. There is a significant amount of data being created every day which the youth is exposed to. On the other hand, we also acknowledge the digital divide, and that people are still getting left behind due to lack of access to information.
Actively endorsing and supporting organizations that protect journalists and real journalism such as ‘Reporters Without Borders’ and ‘ForbiddenStories.org’. Supporting organizations that actively try to prevent Misinformation and Fake News. Advocating to enable access to those who do not have access to proper information and media literacy.
- Poverty, Gender-based violence & Forced Migration:
The extreme poverty during the COVID 19 situation has rapidly increased multi-forms of gender based-violence against women, domestic violence, violence in the world of work, hunger, ending of girl’s education, threats to women’s health and forced migration.
In these issues, the roles of youth are essential to create solidarity among people who affect the most and more vulnerable. Most importantly, we need to work together. It’s essential that wealthy countries work together to share the responsibility for protecting refugees. Increase support for them. Protect asylum seekers and migrant workers and tackle the root causes such as war.
- Redefining Perceptions:
Our generation has witnessed the potential of positive change and we have also witnessed the harm that not knowing enough about a topic can cause. This is evident with polarising terms such as feminism. We have seen how people can be divided by issues and whilst trying to choose sides have trouble finding a middle ground. Therefore, stating clear definitions is important in order to avoid misconceptions.
The main takeaways from this summit and its theme of “Stronger Together” are love and compassion for the Human race, respecting the rights of each other and strengthening unity. Humans are social beings and develop and prosper in a strong society and we have a strong society when individuals are united by common goals, the primary goal of the people on the earth today must be the preservation of peace, through which we will achieve the ideal of peaceful coexistence of all nations, regardless of their differences.
Our strength is our unity.
Su Hyun Kim