UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Jayathma Wickramanayake, a 26-year-old United Nations (UN) Youth Envoy from Sri Lanka, said Friday that she wants to ensure all youth have a home at the United Nations.
"My goal would be to ensure that young people have a voice in all of these processes at the UN, with a special focus on the participation of girls and young women," she said, noting that young people comprise over half of the world's population, the largest youth population in history.
"I served as Youth Delegate during the formulation process of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). In the UN, I saw how young people came together with diverse ideas, proposals and plans of action to weigh-in on framing the future development agenda," she said.
"Most often the UN jargon is not very familiar to the young people doing good work in advancing the lives of youth in their villages and communities," she noted, adding that "There is a need to see young people not as a liability but as an opportunity."
Wickramanayake stressed that new Secretary-General's vision to place youth at the center of the UN's work, namely development, human rights, peace and security, and humanitarian action, "also inspired me to become engaged in the process as the Youth Envoy."
"This is a time in history that we can really make a change because the future will depend on the implementation of the SDGs, and young people will have a crucial role to play," she spoke to UN News prior to the Aug. 12 International Youth Day.
Aug. 12 was declared International Youth Day in December 1999.