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September 9 to 14 Final Declaration Final Declaration 1st Americas Youth Forum Friday September 14, 2007. WORKING PRINCIPLES The Drafting Committee, democratically selected by the youth delegates of the forum, and acting as representatives of their working groups for the 1st Americas Youth Forum, puts forth: During the week of September 9 to September 14, 2007, in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, 127 representatives (delegates and observers) from 331 nations across the Americas convened to collectively analyze the issues and opportunities that face young people across the continent. In an open process of debate, analysis and proposals, concrete action-oriented initiatives were designed, to catalyze positive changes in our communities and significantly increase the number of capacity- building opportunities promoting personal and social development, not only to enrich ourselves, but more importantly our societies. This process of intercultural dialogue was officially initiated in July 2007 via Internet. The young people of the Americas recognize the following: • The necessity of creating effective mechanisms that promote the building of capacity, integration, and youth empowerment in decision-making processes. Particularly those that foster the personal and professional development of youth including providing avenues for youth entrepreneurs from rural and urban regions for the implementation of successful and lucrative projects. • The opportunities presented by technological advances, particularly information and communication technologies in rural areas, and of creating linkages, channels of communication and cutting edge education to encourage skill-building amongst children, youth, adolescents, and civil society as a whole. In addition, it is imperative to include marginalized groups and geographically isolated regions with poor access to modes of transportation and communication, in order to involve them in capacity-building processes, 1 Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, México, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. 1 empowerment programs, with special consideration of their societal challenges and necessities. • The importance of exercising our human rights in every aspect of our lives, as dictated by the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, and therefore, we promote its practice and enforcement across all sectors and social spheres, as well as the promotion and defense of gender equality, especially amongst our youth. • The importance of realizing educational programs across the Americas that reflect the diversity within our societies, its history and development, as well as respecting and supporting multiculturalism, multilingualism, and diversity both within our countries and throughout the region, with particular emphasis given to the rights of indigenous, rural, marginalized, and at-risk communities. • The importance of combating social unrest amongst young people in a constructive manner, with respect to addictions and sexual and reproductive health, as well as effectively addressing physical, psychological and social health issues. • The effective involvement of youth organizations across the Americas is necessary in efforts towards integration at the local, regional, and international level; with guaranteed decision making power in public policy matters. The formalization and diffusion of the rights and responsibilities of youth and youth organizations should be actively promoted. Proceeding the plenary discussion that took place on Thursday September 13, 2007, during which the preliminary declaration was presented as a compilation the recommendations and proposals put forth by the working groups, to be complimented by the participation of observers and constructive feedback provided during this gathering, the drafting committee presented today, the final declaration of the 1st Youth Forum of the Americas. This Final Declaration includes the conclusions of the work realized among this week and the debate of the Thursday 13 of September, and taking into account the proposals, observations and comments made during that debate, and it was submitted for the approval by the nations present in this Forum, according to the procedures of the United Nations for this matter, with one vote per country present in this meeting. The declaration that has been approved by the majority of participants of the Forum is as follows: 2 Final Declaration - Acapulco 1. To create a young volunteer network that offers capacity building workshops in information and communications technology tools within the educational system. 2. To examine and analyze successful literacy programs in the region and to encourage their application. 3. To make full use of actors within the educational community to tackle and prevent the problems of poverty and violence, with the main objective being to integrate the individual to a holistic educational system from an early age. 4. To generate mechanisms so that education has a holistic focus with an emphasis in multiculturalism, sustainable development, ensuring the accuracy and applicability of the curriculum. 5. To promote the integration of shared values and human rights, with help from UNESCO, in educational institutions, through the implementation of mentorship and peer-to-peer youth program utilizing successful role models who display such values. 6. To promote psychological assistance programs for youth that allow them to identify their capacities and skills and at the same time show them how to confront the various difficulties in the learning process. 7. To establish or assist student councils in structuring and strengthening their ability to debate, and make recommendations to the government on youth issues. 8. To create a network of young volunteers to help spread information at a community level about topics in sexual and reproductive health, free from stereotypes, taboos, sensitive to cultural diversity, and founded in the values of human rights and the responsibilities associated with said rights. 9. To promote a political campaign by youth organizations to address national and regional legislations to ensure that public policies recognize and protect sexual and reproductive rights of young people. 10. Implement or support a free telephone line with information about health and sexual and reproductive rights, attended by specialists. 11. To involve young people using various forms of communication in measures to make scientific information about sexual and reproductive health more accessible to young people. This information should be free of stereotypes, taboos, respective of cultural sensitivities, and founded in the values of human rights – equality, liberty, justice and equity. 12. To leverage the support of professional health services to aid in the diffusion of information in schools in order to raise awareness among youth and prevent sexually transmitted infections. 3 13. To create a regional youth committee on sexual and reproductive rights that would generate documents with scientific information, free of stereotypes, taboos, respective of cultural sensitivities and founded in the values of human rights. 14. To promote and defend state secularism as a guarantee of the protection of sexual and reproductive rights of youth. 15. To promote youth participation in local, national, and international processes to construct, analyze and reflect on sexual and reproductive rights, for example the 2008 AIDS Conference. 16. To promote the development of programs that stimulate the active participation of young people in discussions on the prevention of and fight against addictions. 17. To Create and enable a support network for victims of addictions and organizations that work on the theme to further information dissemination and channel it to young people who need it. 18. To train and empower young people and educational workers to work with their peers and as community educators with a scientific and objective idea of looking at the problem of addictions, the identification of legal and illegal synthetic and natural drugs, and their impact on social, political, economic and cultural health. 19. To help foster youth volunteerism to achieve better communication between peers giving out information on drugs and their effects, with a focus on human rights. 20. To help build closer relationships among marginalized groups training them to effectively participate in peer-to-peer education on the topics of the prevention and treatment of addictions. 21. To get the support of governments, private initiatives, financial institutions, and social organizations to offer financial and technical assistance as well as help to develop business plans, all directed towards youth. 22. To promote educational systems that awaken the entrepreneurial spirit of young people as well as programs and organizations that work to that end. 23. To generate, follow up, and finance lucrative projects started by youth in rural and urban areas, and create multidisciplinary centres to give advice and technical training. 24. To promote the participation of young entrepreneurs for the guarantee of food security consolidating spaces of interaction and joint responsibility among the rural and urban societies. 25. To create a communication network through digital media and mobile training centers to publicize success stories of young people in the Americas, as well as strengthening the transfer of science and technology to improve systems of productions and stimulate constant innovation. 26. To stimulate the development of integrated projects. 27. To create a directory of technical and business advisors. 4 28. To create a youth network that would serve to unify institutions and organizations with similar principles as UNESCO, and to form websites for each country of the Americas that has information relevant to youth. These sites would form part of an internet portal for the youth of the Americas in which would present information on issues of interest for young people in the Americas. 29. To take advantage of electronic forms of communication, through such means as documentaries, research, photography, videos, etc., with the aim of furthering cultural information and updates of the countries of the Americas. 30. To disseminate success stories of national programs developed by UNESCO that encourages the creation of young leaders in the region. 31. To promote multilingualism, multiculturalism, and environmental consciousness of the educational system towards a practical learning experience through student and other exchanges, including visits to homes of the Americas coordinated by UNESCO institutes among others. This education will be free. 32. To encourage the creation of committees for the organization, elaboration and promotion of an international event on International Youth Day, to showcase arts and cuisine as an expression of cultural diversity and to strengthen the multicultural links among all the countries of the Americas. 33. To promote education based on cultural diversity, and develop a comprehensive understanding of the peoples of the Americas, commemorating national historic moments that are not accepted as mainstream but are essential to express the history of the Americas. 34. To generate strategic alliances between youth, non-governmental organizations, and governments that aim to strengthen and encourage citizen participation and youth partnerships, promoting the coordinated work with public sector institutions and social organizations that work on empowerment and focus on strengthening citizen participation. 35. Considering the importance that the media holds as an ally of young people in the matter of participating in decision making, we propose: a. To establish agreements that allow us to design programs for television, radio, and the written word in order to discuss themes relating to youth participation in public policy. b. To develop training workshops on political issues for youth, strengthening the volunteer networks dedicated to youth development, assisted by international bodies like UNESCO and local, regional and national governments. c. To create educational materials for formal and non-formal education as methodological and interactive guides to promote citizen participation involving the perspectives of youth. d. To develop “Youth caravans for citizenship participation” focused on motivating youth interest in public policy through creative mechanisms of youth participation, including forms of art (theatre, dance, music, etc.). 5 36. To strive for the existence of a legal framework that promotes the valid participation of youth and its impact in the public policy arena, identifying existing spaces in order to work jointly with official institutions representing young people, and the legislative power to promote such institutions in countries where they do not yet exist. 37. To promote the participation of youth in the design, implementation, evaluation, and continuation of public policies, by creating local agendas and presenting the generated results of this Forum, in order to forge national forums that address youth participation in the political sphere. 38. To create an agenda that supports youth participation across the Americas as the core mechanism to confront public policies that affect youth. 39. To evaluate public policies in our respective countries, and specifically those that impact youth by utilizing the guide created by the United Nations; furthermore, to insist that our governments comply with the pertinent recommendations derived from this evaluation. 40. Considering the pace at which the world around us is changing in our current era, the delegation intends to further enrich the recommendations within this declaration, for which it has proposed to continue this dialogue and debate through the listserve of the 1st Youth Forum of the Americas, and likewise the continued moderation by UNESCO, and finally through the networks that will be created as stated in this document. GENERAL RECCOMENDATIONS I. It is exhorted that UNESCO make recommendations to governments of each member state, that relevant educational curriculum is created to address the sexual and reproductive rights of peoples, and conveyed with a fundamental focus on universal human rights. II. This assembly recommends that UNESCO explore the possibility of creating and strengthening national and regional youth parliaments, whose principal objectives will be to deliver proposals to governments that address social issues and to improve the image of youth; and further to support a biannual election of one youth representative for each represented country, democratically elected, to participate in the said parliament. III. It was agreed to make the regional youth forum a biannual event to encourage dialogue and understanding among cultures. Acapulco Guerrero, Mexico, September 14, 2007 6 Members of the Draft Committee. 1. Angélica Paola Arceta Estrada (México) 2. Anny Ydaira Díaz Then (Republica Dominicana) 3. Carlos Andrés Cisneros Pazmiño (Ecuador) 4. Denis Ruiz Silva (México) 5. Florencia Jimena Buonomo (Argentina) 6. Jorge Cárdenas Inestroza (Chile) 7. María Verónica Vallejo Vallejo (Ecuador) 8. Marsha Dianne Gay (Barbados) 9. Mariela Madrigal Meneses (Costa Rica) 10. Mitesh Bhaggoe (Suriname) 7
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