“Investing in the youth is investing in the future” says Minister Dunya

13 May 2014, Male’; Minister of Foreign Affairs , Her Excellency Ms. Dunya Maumoon made these remarks, attending as Chief Guest, to inaugurate the Regional Consultative Meeting to Finalize the SAARCYouth Charter and Action Plan, held todayat the Traders Hotel.

The SAARC’s Regional Consultative Session, which forms part of the three day event hosted by the Government of Maldives, in collaboration with UNFPA to finalize the SAARCYouth Charter and Action Plan for 2014 to 2017, is to take place from 13th to 14th of May 2014. A preceding youth workshop was also held yesterday, to obtain views from the youth themselves, on the Youth Charter and Action Plan.

Minister Dunya, emphasizing the role of youthas leaders and decision makers of tomorrow, stated in her speech;

Investing in the youth is investing in the future. They are the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow.  They are the ones to shape the destiny of our region and the world in the coming years. We cannot deny them their rights, opportunities or the resources that will enable them to play this important role. We need to ensure their active participation and ensure that their voices are heard.”

Minister Dunya also underscored the importance making youth policies a priority. In this regard, she stated:

“We must eradicate violence and abuse of young people, especially girls and other marginalized groups.  We must not let youth be deprived from an education or access to decent work. We must invest in the health and well-being of the youth.”

The SAARC’s Youth Charter, once finalized, will provide a collaborative framework for its member states to pool their resources towards enriching health, well-being and potential of youth across region. The Charter, focuses on 5 key areas of action, namely, Enabling Environment, Gender Equality, Education and Skills Development, Employment and Health. The Charter envisions the formulation of new youth-centric policies and re-focusing of youth priorities at the national and regional level. In this regard, the objective of the Consultative Session is to validate the SAARC Youth Charter and set in motion the SAARC Youth Action Plan for 2014 to 2017.