Delivering the Opening Statement at the Plenary Discussion Forum at the United Nations in Vienna on 4th April 2014, Minister of Youth Affairs & Skills Development, Dullas Alahapperuma highlighted the importance of skills development and building of entrepreneurial capacities of youth in order to effectively contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. Participation of youth and integration of their needs and priorities into programmes and policies at all levels were critical to achieving eradication of poverty, decent employment for youth, and economic advancement, the Minister stressed.
He made these remarks, addressing a large gathering of Ambassadors, delegates, and representatives of international organisations in Vienna on the theme, of “Mainstreaming of Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda” ahead of the World Conference on Youth to be hosted by Sri Lanka from 6-10 May 2014.
The UNIDO Director General LI Yong, delivering a Special Address, expressed confidence that the World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka would provide a valuable and inclusive platform for inter-generational dialogue. Welcoming the theme of the upcoming World Conference, he recalled the relevance of Lima Declaration “Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development” and urged countries to do more to enable youth to realize their full potential, including through a strong emphasis on youth entrepreneurship.
Later in the day, at a separate meeting with Minister Alahapperuma, Director General LI Yong assured the support of UNIDO for the success of the World Conference on Youth.
Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), who warmly received the Minister in his office, praised Sri Lanka’s efforts in engaging youth in disaster prevention and mitigation activities, which he said was also a focus of the work of the CTBTO. In this context, he welcomed the potential opportunity of the World Conference on Youth for promoting the benefits of civil and scientific applications of the treaty, for enhancing youth participation and capacity building of youth.
The Minister extended an invitation to both Director General LI Yong and Executive Secretary Zerbo to participate in the World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka.
The Opening Session of the Plenary Discussion Forum was presided over by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Chair of the G 77 and China. The valedictory remarks were made by Ambassador Rachmat Budiman, Permanent Representative of Indonesia.
The Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development was accompanied during these discussions by Lalith Piyum Perera, Chairman of the National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka and Ms. Savitri Panabokke, Minister and Nawodh Hennayake, Second Secretary of the Sri Lanka Mission in Vienna in addition to Ambassador Azeez.