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News, 10/21/2016

Finnish Youth Delegate wants youth included in international decision-making 

Finland’s UN Youth Delegate 2016 Sonja Huttunen wishes that young people would get more included into decision-making and peace building.​

Picture: UN Photo/Kim Haughton
YK:n pääsihteeri Ban Ki-Moonin kohtaaminen oli yksi YK-visiitin huippukohdista.
Meeting the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was one of the highlights of Huttunen's visit to the UN.

Youth Delegate Sonja Huttunen spent busy two weeks with us at the United Nations in New York. For Huttunen, who holds a Master's Degree in International Relations, it was extremely interesting to see how the UN operates day-to-day.

– The side-event on Youth, Peace and Security was especially unforgettable. Finnish youth organizations where strongly reprecented, Huttunen says.

Youth as Peacebuilders

In the side-event, youth from around the world arrived to discuss the application of the Security Council’s resolution 2250, which is now less than a year old. The co-operation of youth from Finland and Eritrea was used as one of the case-studies in the event.

– Finnish youth organizations already do a lot of activism on peace. We don’t have to start from zero, when finding practical applications for the resolution, Huttunen explains.

Finnish youth organizations have started to actively find aplications the resolution on Youth, Peace and Security. Huttunen thinks the subject to be easy for Finns to adapt to; Youth organizations already have a strong position in domestic politicy making in Finland.

– It annoys me to no end, when people say the future lays with the youth. We are here now, impacting this world and making a difference. If 20-somethings can be recruited for fighting and violence, then why not as peace builders?

Picture: Hanna Asikainen/FinlandUN
Nuoret, Rauha ja Turvallisuus -tapahtumassa puhuttiin mm. suomalaisten ja eritrealaisten nuorten yhteistyöstä. Kuvassa YK:n varapääsihteeri Jan Eliasson sekä nuorisoaktivistit Saba Ismail ja Silja Markkula.
A moment from the Youth, Peace and Security -event. From left to right: Youth Activists Silja Markkula and Saba Ismail, Deputy Secretary-General to the UN Jan Eliasson.

Sustainable development is individual

Huttunen is concerned that the UN might seems far-away and irrelevant for some people. The Youth Delegate reminds that for example the Sustainable Development Goals touch the lives of every individual.

– People think that the goal for zero-hunger, for example, is something that only applies in developing countries. But we have breadlines in Finland too! The need for development might look different, but it is still there. Then again, Finland is globally in a privileged position, which makes it our responsibility to help others,  Huttunen reflects.

It is up to each individual, that the Sustainable Development Goals will be realized. As an example Huttunen herself only uses renewable energy at home.

– The Agenda 2030 is made for the UN Member States, but there are aspects in it for every person to consider. In the end, development is about quite simple things and choices.

Picture: Hanna Asikainen/FinlandUN
Sonja Huttunen muistuttaa, että kestävä kehitys on jokaisen arjen valintoja.
Sonja Huttunen reminds that Sustainable Developement can be every-day choices made by individuals. 

A Chance to make a difference

Every year a young person is chosen as the Youth Delegate to represent young Finns at the UN General Assembly and work to make UN known in Finland. The delegate is recruited by Finnish Youth Cooperation Allianssi and UNA Finland.

Picture: Hanna Asikainen/FinlandUNSonja Huttunen piti Suomen kansallisen puheenvuodon YK:n yleiskokouksen ihmisoikeuksia käsittelevässä kolmoskomiteassa lokakuun alussa.

Sonja Huttunen made Finland's national statement at the UN General Assembly's Third Committee. 

Huttunen is thankful for the chance to make an impact as a Youth Delegate. She wishes that there would be more young faces around international negotiations tables in the future.

– It’s not written anywhere, that the most qualified people to put forwards have to be 60-years-old. Different generations must be brought together in decision making.

More on the Finnish Youth Delegate

Read Sonja Huttunen’s speech at 3rd Committee:

Watch Youth Leadership in Peace and Security-event on video:

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Updated 12/7/2016

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