On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

As such the UN and its participating nations recognize the crucial role that the youth play in sustaining peace and conflict prevention. and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace. A more balanced and holistic society is one whereby the youth are involved in the processes of their own development

On this occasion of International Youth Day 2017 we at the National Youth Council of Dominica wish to join the regional and international community in humble admiration of how important our youth are to our sustained development and building peace. We pause, however, to pay tribute to the lives of five young men that were lost so tragically on August 6th, 2017. Our deepest condolences to the families of these young men. It is always a great loss when the young die, as it represents untold stories and unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. Dominica mourns your loss. May we be all comforted that they have gone to a better place.

The current generation of youth is the largest in history and young people often comprise the majority in countries marked by armed conflict or unrest, therefore considering the needs and aspirations of youth in matters of peace and security is a demographic imperative.

We must work tirelessly at fostering peaceful and inclusive societies and affirm that sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security. It is all well to pave our roads and street walks and erect magnificent buildings but not at the expense of our moral and social responsibility towards the youth.

Young people’s inclusion in the peace and security agenda and in society more broadly, is key to building and sustaining peace. The process of social inclusion for youth, including participation in decision-making as well as access to quality education, health care and basic services promotes their role as active contributors to society and affords young people with opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals

When youth are excluded from political, economic and social spheres and processes, it can be a risk factor for violence and violent forms of conflict. Having said this let those particularly responsible for youth take heed and not make the same mistakes that characterize other developing and developed states.

We believe that Dominica is taking corrective measures in the form of our judicial system to ensure that the rights of the youth are safeguarded. There are certain opportunities opening in education and small business development and entrepreneurship that will seek to empower the youth to realize their goals.

There are others like the National Youth Council that are championing the cause for youth and therefore not all hope is lost. We wish however to reaffirm our commitment to the sustained development of Dominica’s Youth.

Happy International Youth Day 2017.