the Delegation of the Holy See
Mr. Francisco Dionísio
At the 60th
Session of the UN General Assembly:
of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond
New York, 6
My delegation is pleased to
participate in this important discussion on the World Programme of Action for
Youth. It was once said flippantly: “youth is wasted on the young”;
nevertheless, the Holy See is pleased that the United Nations continues to have
a high regard for their importance.
Recently, at a gathering of
hundreds of thousands of young people in Cologne (Germany), Pope Benedict XVI
echoed the sentiments of young people around the world, saying, “We are
concerned for the state of the world and we are asking: ‘Where do I find
standards to live by, what are the criteria that govern responsible cooperation
in building the present and the future of our world?’”
people aspire to be great. But to achieve greatness, they must be mindful of
others, especially those who are without. Nor can they achieve this alone.
They need the leadership and resources of governments, the interest and
cooperation of non-governmental organisations and the good will and hard work of
In the light of this concern, my
delegation has carefully followed developments since the launch ten years ago of
the World Programme of Action for Youth. Its ten priority areas for action
touched upon significant issues and themes that affect the lives of young people
and our world.
The Secretary-General’s 2005
World Youth Report returns to some troubling elements that still affect young
people’s lives today. Addressing one of those concerns, my delegation
reiterates its position on the use of the expression “sexual and reproductive
health”, as contained in the Report. My delegation understands it as a holistic
promotion of the health of women, men, youth and children. It does not consider
abortion or access to abortion as a dimension of these terms.
The Holy See also continues to be
fully committed to the role of youth in the global economy, poverty,
education and employment. Currently in the world, there are over 196,000
Catholic primary and secondary schools attended by more than 51 million children
and youths. Additionally, there are almost 1,000 Catholic universities,
colleges and other institutes, educating more than 4 million young adults.
Young people are being helped to receive the education they deserve and are
encouraged to give back to others. Education is the gift that continues to give.
With respect to youth in
relation to society, environment, leisure and participation, by means of
thousands of youth groups around the world, the Catholic Church shares and
promotes the importance of caring for one’s self, the environment and one’s
Regarding youth at risk,
health, drugs, delinquency and discrimination against girls and young women,
there are almost 12,000 Catholic hospitals and institutions of healthcare and
preventative medicine throughout the world. Trained local professionals, through
their work there, support the principle that all human life is sacred, and that
each person has worth. The young are clearly cared for as precious and
vulnerable members of society.
Mr. President, the ability to
accomplish the specific goals of the ten priorities boils down to commitment.
The round table discussion for young people called it “making commitments that
matter”. We know that we live in a complex and complicated world, and many
young people know that such commitment requires three things: recognising
needs, especially in the poorest members of our world; planning a response; and
The Holy See encourages the UN to
continue to identify the needs of the world’s young people, especially of the
poorest and weakest of them. It further recommits itself to working together
with the international community to develop realistic, appropriate, immediate
and long term responses. Building a better world is a
lifelong process. Oftentimes it is a very long journey. But young people
recognize that their journey is just beginning. And precisely given their
youth, they are still at the initial steps in paving a path for success in the
future. Every person of every age matters as we work together to build a world
that is safe and happy for young people.
Thank you, Mr. President.