Role of Parliament in Strengthening Economic and Political Participation of Youth

17 Sep 2013

Statement

By

Mr. Luca Renda 

UNDP Country Director

 

“Role of Parliament in Strengthening Economic and Political Participation of Youth”

 

International Day of Democracy 

Tuesday September 17, 2013

Lebanese Parliament

Beirut, Lebanon

 

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor to be here with you today to mark the International Day of Democracy (15 September). Today we also take the opportunity to launch two studies that contribute to the discussion around a very important subject: the role of the Parliament in strengthening the economic and political participation of youth.

I will begin my intervention by quoting the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, from his Message on the International Day of Democracy.

“This year’s International Day of Democracy falls amid volatile political transitions in several countries, prolonged economic crisis, and dramatic demographic and social change.  These events all underscore the need to strengthen people’s voices in how they are governed – an imperative that lies at the heart of democracy.

Despite advances in civic engagement, apathy has become democracy’s most insidious enemy in a growing number of societies.  Inclusive participation is the antidote.  It is not only an end in itself, it prepares communities, societies and entire countries to address opposing points of view, forge compromises and solutions, and engage in constructive criticism and deliberations.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UN views democracy as a universally recognized ideal and promotes it as one of its core values. Approximately $US 1.5 billion each year is provided through to support democratic processes around the world, making the United Nations one of the largest providers of technical cooperation for Democracy and governance globally.

As for UNDP, we believe that empowering parliaments and parliamentarians is a central element to strengthening democracy. Our cooperation with the Lebanese Parliaments dates back to 1999. We work closely with Parliamentarians, Parliamentary Committees and the Parliamentary Administration. Our objective is to provide technical support to strengthening the legislative, oversight, and representation functions of the Lebanese Parliament. We also aim at strengthening the relationship between the Parliament and civil society, with special emphasis to support the national development goals mentioned in the Ministerial Statement.

Today we are proud to present two additional results of this fruitful collaboration. One study entitled “The role of Parliament in creating employment opportunities for Lebanese youth”; and another entitled “The role of Parliament in promoting youth participation in political parties and parliamentary elections.” Our meeting today is an opportunity to discuss the findings of these studies, but also – end especially – to endorse their recommendations. We encourage in particular the Youth and Sport Parliamentary Committee to take the lead in translating these recommendations into legislative actions to expand youth participation in the economic and political life; as well as to suggest ways to strengthen the relationship between the Parliament and the youth groups.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I again quote the UN Secretary General:

“On this International Day of Democracy, I call on leaders to hear, respect and respond appropriately to the voices of the people, whether expressed directly or through elected representatives.  I call on the world’s citizens to think about how they can use their voice to not only take control of their destiny, but to translate their desires and the desires of others into a better future for all.

Speak out.  Participate.  Reach out to understand and listen to those who may be weaker or more vulnerable than you.  We all have an equal stake in our shared future.  Today, let us commit to ensuring that each of us can and does play our part to the full.”

Thank you for your kind attention.