In preparation for the United Nations High-level Meeting on Youth in New York, 25/26 July, the youth of the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches, the International Movement of Catholic Students and World Student Christian Federation sent the following the statement:
Statement to the United Nations High-level meeting on Youth, July 2011
by Young Christians
in the World Council of Churches, the International Movement of Catholic Students Pax Romana, the World Christian Student Federation and the Lutheran World Federation (all NGOs in consultative Status with ECOSOC).
This statement represents voices of young Christians throughout the world. We are full citizens of this planet like all other inhabitants. We experience and are impacted by both the joy and the suffering here on Earth. We share the fear and pain of war, the hunger in times of famine, the desolation brought by disease, the effects of the degradation of nature and many other dangers that threaten our lives and communities. However, we pray and hope to be empowered by God to make a meaningful contribution to life for all.
We came together from different churches and faith based organizations in an online consultation. We agreed on burning issues that must be brought to the attention of the governments of the world.
1. Participation. Youth across the world share the reality of exclusion from decision-making, often within their own churches and communities. Therefore, the United Nations and the governments of the member states should provide access and rights to young people so they may speak and be involved in decision making processes. Young people will have to live in the future with decisions made today.
2. Education. As youth we are eager to learn and develop our skills for the common good of our societies. In that way, we can support the improvement of social, spiritual and ecological life both at the individual and the community levels. To do this we need support. Access to education should be equal and the same regardless of economic status, gender, social status or religion. Therefore, we need for example high-quality and free education in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Furthermore, qualitative and financial support for non-formal education organized and carried out by young volunteers is needed.
3. Access to the job market. Getting a job or land to work on, is difficult in many countries. Youth unemployment has become a new virus in many countries already afflicted by other diseases. The governments of the world have to make combating youth unemployment an ongoing priority through programs that ensure the access of young people to the first job as well as guarantees of access to land.
4. Religious freedom and understanding. We also wish for ourselves and anybody else the freedom to exercise our faith without any fear of repercussions either by the state nor by groups or individuals from the community. We also commit to seeking peace and reaching out in dialogue and diapraxis to people of other faiths.
End of the statement
This statement has been written by youth from youth-led and inter-generationally led organizations. They represent a total membership of young members of around 170 Million.
Profiles of the signing organizations:
Youth in the World Council of Churches (WCC). The World Council Churches brings together 349 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 560 million Christians 30% of which are young members. In all of its work, the World Council of Churches ensures the full and creative participation of young people in shaping the ecumenical vision and determining the role and functions of the WCC in relation to its member churches, ecumenical partners and the wider ecumenical movement. The activity on youth in the ecumenical movement: is committed to an inter-generational approach for developing relationships and working methods within the fellowship of member churches and with ecumenical partners.
IMCS – Pax Romana brings together approximately 2 million young people from over 80 diverse national federations, associations, and movements of Catholic university and tertiary students from six regions. Since 1921, IMCS has been promoting peace and justice globally. Since 1949, IMCS has been advocating on behalf of its members as an NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC, DPI, and UNESCO. IMCS is also active in ICMYO and international bodies, such as the ILO and the World Bank, to voice the concerns of youth.
Youth in the Lutheran World Federation (LWF): Young people in the LWF organize in national organizations and coordinate globally. Young people under 30 years old make up at least 20 percent of all decision-making bodies in the LWF. It represents in total around 20 Million young people. The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF now has 145 member churches in 79 countries around the world, representing more than 70 million Christians. LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, and the various aspects of mission and development.