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300 action plans for a safer world

Monday 12 July 2004

300 action plans for a safer and more prosperous world – International Youth Parliament looks to the future

Global security will not be achieved unless issues such as HIV/AIDS, racism and the gap between rich and poor are addressed, according to the 300 young leaders from across the world attending the Oxfam International Youth Parliament.

As the Oxfam International Youth Parliament 2004 (OIYP2004) comes to a close today in Sydney, the young men and women from over 100 countries, including Australia, prepare for their next task of implementing an action plan for change in their own country over the next two years.

Despite their different cultures and backgrounds, many OIYP delegates have discovered they share similar challenges and can work together for better results. From combating violence against women in Mexico, providing books to schools across Afghanistan, scaling up HIV/AIDS education in Zimbabwe and supporting asylum seekers in Australia, the OIYP delegates share the will and ability to create positive changes at a local, national and/or global level.

Mona Abdellatif, 22, from Sudan, has used OIYP2004 as a place to network with other youth from her war torn country, in working together towards her vision of a united Sudan. "Peace for me means food security, health, education. I want to help in new ways and with new ideas - not through violence... in Sudan, youth feel they can't get out. We're just so isolated."

Over the past eight days, OIYP delegates from have worked together, networking, sharing experiences and ideas, and gaining skills to help them to put into action their plans for change in nine key areas: HIV/AIDS, education, peace-building, labour and employment, Indigenous rights, health, human rights, sustainable development and agriculture and global youth culture.

Bessie Maruia of Papua New Guinea is working with the National HIV/AIDS Support Project as part of the National Aids Council. Taking action to reverse the current HIV/AIDS epidemic faced by her country, Bessie says "Not many young people are involved in this area because in our culture, to talk about sex is something that is difficult. I took it up as a challenge, to see it and to face it because it is a problem and a reality in our country".

Violence, discrimination, and disempowerment are common experiences for many of the delegates. However the experience of OIYP2004 has reconfirmed that they are capable of driving and effecting lasting change in their communities and beyond.

"One thing is clear: Too often young people are left out of the decision-making processes which affect their lives" said Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand. "The action plans which have come out of OIYP2004 demonstrate young people have many of the solutions to the key issues facing humanity today.”


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