Statement at the General Debate of the 55th Commission on Population and Development

Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the General Debate of the 55th Commission on Population and Development.

Honourable Chair, esteemed delegates,

The Netherlands aligns itself with the like-minded statement by Mexico

More than half of the world’s population is younger than thirty.

This means that there are more young people alive today, than at any other moment in time.

We are the largest generation in history. 

We are the biggest group of future voters, consumers, workers, and activists that has ever existed.

I’m the Netherlands Youth Ambassador for SRHR, gender equality and Bodily Autonomy. Today, I’ll deliver this statement on behalf of my country.

In doing so, I’m the exception.

In terms of numbers, it would make sense if many more young people would have the opportunity to speak.

This week, we discuss inclusive and sustained economic growth.

My mother used to be a single working mother. People always found it hard to believe that she could be both a mother and a worker.

Her story made me realize how strong stereotypes are.

If we want inclusive economic growth, we must truly value women’s unpaid care work, ensure their economic empowerment and end gender stereotypes.  

As Youth Ambassador, I speak to young people all over the world. They all have stories to tell. I want to share their key messages here:

First of all, young people stress that sexual and reproductive health and rights is a precondition for achieving gender equality and economic development. Perhaps you think: How is SRHR related to economic growth? Let me give you two examples:

Girls from Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya and Sri Lanka told me that many young girls in their countries miss school when they start menstruating. Not because they don’t want an education, but because they share a toilet with boys, with no water or access to menstrual products. So when girls start menstruating, many miss one week of school – every month. This gives them an huge learning disadvantage. Working women face the same problem. So when we talk about inclusive economic growth, we need to break this taboo. One way to do this is by providing Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

Young people need more and reliable information on their sexual and reproductive health. They need this information to make well-informed decisions about their health and lives. Research shows that this contributes to fewer adolescent and unintended pregnancies, fewer unsafe abortions and less sexual and gender-based violence. CSE is a critical enabler for the rights and health of young people, and ensures their ability to benefit from economic growth.

Too often, young people are left out of critical decision-making. But only when we are meaningfully involved in the policies and programmes that affect our lives, we can truly aspire to inclusive economic development. So I call upon all of you today, distinguished delegates, to ensure next year at the CPD, more people behind these microphones are Youth Ambassadors, like me.

Our voices will help you to make a better decision. A decision that makes a difference in our lives.

Thank you mister Chair