THE EMPOWERMENT OF YOUTH IS CRITICAL TO THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE WORLD

Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 24, 2016 (SKNIS)—Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, told the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2016, that the empowerment of young people will redound to a better world where youth can make positive contributions instead of degenerating into a life of violence.

“There is a common view that significant intervention is required in order to nurture aspiration, vision, leadership and a sense of civic responsibility” in our young people, Dr. Harris said. “By providing opportunities for their constructive engagement in critical matters that directly affect them and society, we can transform their frustration to meaningful empowerment.”

“We should tackle head on the increased incidence of youth-on-youth violence. Youth violence is invariably symptomatic of deeper societal issues. We cannot dismiss the apparent despair of the youth. We have to find ways to make them see that violence is not the answer by adopting a multi-sectoral and integrated approach.  In St Kitts and Nevis we are focused on job creation, skills enhancement, entrepreneurship, counselling and support to teen mothers and the provision of other social services,” Prime Minister Harris said.

He said that the proliferation of small of small arms and light weapons has wreaked havoc on the lives of young people and their families. However, he said that recognizing this problem, the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) is taking steps to curb this problem.

“It is important Mr. President that in keeping with our commitment to working more collaboratively to stem the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the Caribbean Governments have adopted the CARICOM Declaration on Small Arms and Light Weapons in my own country’s capital of Basseterre on July 4th, 2011,” Prime Minister Harris said.

“St. Kitts and Nevis has now signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty but we are still in need of much support,” he added.

The 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York convened on Tuesday 13th September, 2016, under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform Our World”. The General Debates began on September 20 and will run until September 26, 2016.

On January 1, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which were adopted by world leaders in September last year officially came into force. Over the next 15 years, the focus of the 193-member body will be to end all forms of poverty; fight inequalities; and tackle climate change.

Fiji’s United Nations Ambassador, Peter Thomson, was sworn in on September 20, as the new President of the United Nations General Assembly, taking over from the outgoing President, Denmark’s Mogens Lykketoft.

President Thomson has pledged to “turn the wheels” on implementing the 17 global SDGs.

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