Young people must have a say in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future

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young people to build a better future – greener, more inclusive and digital. eu delegation to cambodia”/>

EU Ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno (centre) poses for a photo with a group of students from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Cambodia and the Cambodian Institute for International Relations Capacity Building Joint Program cooperation and peace. The EU seeks the vision, commitment and participation of young people to build a better future – greener, more inclusive and digital. eu delegation to cambodia

Europe Day commemorates the signing of the “Schuman Declaration” on 9 May 1950. An ambitious plan to secure peace in post-war Europe. On this day in 1950, a group of European countries signed an agreement to cooperate on coal and steel production. The idea was to merge the economic interests of former World War II adversaries to secure a lasting peace. Economic and commercial interdependence would make war between historical rivals like France and Germany “not only unthinkable, but materially impossible”. This agreement eventually evolved into the European Union (EU) as we know it today. What began as an economic alliance is today a unique economic and political union of 27 European countries.

This Union is much more than the world’s largest trading bloc and single market; the EU’s greatest achievement has been to deliver half a century of peace, stability and prosperity.

This year, the importance of working for peace and the founding narrative of the EU has become even more relevant, as we and our Member States stand united and in solidarity with Ukraine, as war has returned to the ground. European. The Europe Day we celebrate today is about the Union we need for the future – how together we will make it stronger and more resilient.

In this endeavour, we cannot forget that young people have a vital role to play in shaping our vision for a better future. Both the EU and ASEAN have declared 2022 “the year of youth”. The EU seeks the vision, commitment and participation of young people to build a better future – greener, more inclusive and digital. ASEAN wants to encourage young people, as future leaders, to increase their contribution to peace and development and to play an active role in solving current challenges.

Over the past two years of the pandemic, young people around the world have made enormous sacrifices, missing out on schooling and social interactions at a crucial time in their development. Their contribution and resilience are often overlooked.

They are rightly concerned about a future that seems built on uncertainty and the global challenges that threaten their future. Growing inequality, food insecurity, lack of employment opportunities, polarization and conflict, including in the digital space, and the adverse effects of climate change are likely to lead to instability, the consequences of which tend to hit children and young people harder.

It is our duty to provide young people with the right tools, to help them build new hopes, confidence and opportunities.

Despite being the main actors in our future, young people are excluded from political debates and decisions that can have a direct impact on their lives, as well as repercussions for decades to come. Not only is this shortsighted as we need to invest in them as future leaders, but we are also missing out on their unique perspectives and creative solutions to the challenges we face.

Across the world, wherever the European Union partners with countries to promote sustainable development, we aim to take into account the perspectives of young people, because investing in, working with and listening to young people is essential.

Sixty percent of the world’s young people live in Asia and two-thirds of Cambodians are under 30 years old. This represents an invaluable opportunity to help us reimagine the world through hopeful young eyes and find new solutions to the challenges we face.

Throughout the year, as we prepare and design our new program of cooperation, we want to be inspired by the vision and ideas of young people to strengthen and further energize our partnership with Cambodia.

We want to encourage young Cambodians to become agents of positive change and to have their say in the design and implementation of our projects. We want to hear from them about the impact our programs can have on their lives, so we can shape them to better meet their needs. We want to listen to their ideas and ambitions on how we can build a better and more sustainable future together.

To this end, we will celebrate Europe Day with them throughout May and call for the creation of a Youth Sounding Board, to advise me and the Delegation on how to make our programs more participatory , relevant and effective for young people. .

My encounters and my experience with Cambodian youth reinforce my hope through their optimism and their desire to imagine that another world is possible. To access their potential for change, all you have to do is give them a seat at the table.

Carmen Moreno is EU Ambassador to Cambodia

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