On 14 February 2019, Diliyan Manolov and Yavor Gotchev, Bulgarian Youth Delegates to the UN, made an official statement on behalf of the Bulgarian youth during the 57th session of the Commission for Social Development.
We publish a full text of the delegates’ statement to the Commission. The highlights are placed by the editorial team of UNA News Bulgaria:
We are the generation recognized as agents of change in the 2030 Agenda, the generation that is at the forefront of the implementation of the first ever UN Youth Strategy. We all have the responsibility to ensure full and meaningful participation of young people in every process concerning our future and our present. Being at the centre of these processes makes us the driving force of their successful implementation and once again reaffirms the commitment of the UN, its Member States and all relevant stakeholders towards young people and their well-being. Nevertheless, we can do more and we can do better and this is evident by the recommendations put forward by the Report of the Secretary-General submitted pursuant to the Commission for Social Development resolution 55/1.
The report highlights the need for Member States to redouble the efforts towards the provision of quality education, especially to vulnerable groups of young people, and ensure that learning helps to develop skills for the future of work and adequately comprises sustainable development education, conflict prevention and civic engagement.
In a nationwide consultation that we conducted at the end of 2018 with more than 700 young people in Bulgaria, the main challenges they identified were the realization of their rights to quality education and decent jobs. This is particularly relevant for vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities alongside with people living in rural areas. Nowadays, quality education should provide young people not only with knowledge but also with the necessary skills and competences that can subsequently increase their chances of finding a decent job. Therefore, we call upon Member States to invest in quality education and 21st century skills development of all young people.
In 2016 the new law on pre-school and school education was adopted, introducing for the first time the development of key skills and competences as fundamental part of the general education of each student. This is a step forward in the process of ensuring that education is in line with the progress of the world nowadays and the new generation of young learners. What is more, ensuring the opportunity to exercise the right to quality education for all young people, including persons with disabilities, is a way to empower them and support them in the process of fully engaging in our societies.
In our capacity as Youth Delegates we are committed to working closely with young people to gain valuable skills for the future through volunteering and non-formal education. Our aim is to engage schools, universities and all relevant stakeholders, including the non-governmental sector, to help prepare young people for the future and ensure their acquisition of the relevant skills needed in a rapidly changing workplace environment of the 21st century. We would like to emphasize on the fundamental role of the development of competences and skills that enable young people to find meaningful employment, to have an active role as citizens in democratic societies and to support their personal development. Through online campaigns and offline meetings with young people we aim to raise awareness among them and to show them how they can further improve their education. Reaching out to different groups of young people, including vulnerable groups and persons with disabilities, is crucial for ensuring inclusiveness at all levels.
In October 2018, together with our colleagues from Hungary and the Czech Republic we organized an event focused on “Inclusive development for young people with disabilities” with the aim to share best practices from our countries. We focused on the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities, inclusive education and inclusive labour-market policies. Now we are organizing a follow-up event focused specifically on the topic of “Inclusive education for young people and children with disabilities” and we want to showcase the real success stories, because they are among us and we can learn from them.
We call upon Member States to further recognize that quality education plays an essential role in advancing equal opportunities, social inclusion and cohesion and to contribute to its development so that it responds to the global challenges by developing relevant competences.
The World Program of Action for Youth alongside the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations Youth Strategy envision a world in which the human rights of every young person are realized and every young person is empowered to achieve his or her full potential. The access to inclusive and quality formal and non-formal education is an important factor that enables young people to acquire the relevant skills and to build their capacities, including for employability. We call upon Member States to take the actions necessary to ensure that young people have access to such services and opportunities.
Thank you, Mr / Mrs Chair!