Eg har nå debutert i FN-samanheng. Innlegget mitt fann stad på ein av Norden sine side events her i Rio, og temaet var likestilling. Som ein kommentar til paneldebatten mellom Tarja Hallonen, Færøyanes miljøvernminister og ei tøff svensk dame eg aldri heilt fekk med meg kven var (ho var stand-in for Lena Ek, som til liks med Bård Vegar Solhjell og Gro Harlem Bruntland måtte skippe den planlagte paneldeltakinga og kaste seg ut i Rios trafikkork etter at Brasil hadde sendt ut det endelege framlegget til tekst på sluttdokumentet same morgon). For morroskyld og galskap: her er manuset mitt, sånn i fall nokon føler ein trong til å lese det. :)
My name is Signhild Stave Samuelsen, and I am the vise chair person of the Nordic Children and Youth Committee, NORDBUK. NORDBUK is the Nordic Council of Ministers’ advisory and co-ordinating organ for Nordic and international co-operation on issues affecting the young. Since we are a co-operating organ, officials from all the Nordic countries and self-governing areas meet youth representatives from the national youth councils. The main reason why this structure is chosen, is a belief that participation is a core value in developing a better, common future.
When the report Our common future was launched 20 years ago, it pointed out that a sustainable future meant economic development, social justice and environmental maintanance – all important parts of a"development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
In all the five Nordic countries, an important political aim is combining these factors. Economic development is a goal, but an important tool to help us reaching it, is a welfare system that provides a somewhat equal distribution of social goods. Equality on the basis of gender, and regardless of religious, ethnical, social and economic positions, is important for reaching the goal.
Our democracies are often regarded as open prosesses. In order for our democracy to be open, we need to remove the obstacles that hinder groups of people from participation. For the NORDBUK, the question of equality thus also include age.
The Nordic model includes the belief that the work for inclusion starts on a early age. Our five countries all score high on the indexes of young people's democratic attitudes. This is not only because democracy and participation are important values in our school systems, but also because the voices of the youth are given the floor in the societies in general. The civil societies are strong in all countries, and the works of NGOs are highly appreciated. Their work is important in the struggle towards sustainability. They provide a platform where children and youth may form their own spare time activities, and where their opinion matters. By providing a platform for participation, they provide help in keeping our democracies alive – and they contribute to renewing them, over and over.
Many of the youth organizations from the Nordic countries that are present here, are for instance meeting this summit with a demand for an ombudsman for future generations, others with requests of a new and binding environmental agreement. Regardless of how one find these suggestions, the negotiations are definitely filled with more engagement and with new perspectives on our common future because of them!
The Nordic countries are not perfect, and we have challenges in our path towards a sustainable future. Since the main focus of the discussion of this side event has been gender equality, I would like to share an example for an obcious challenge. In 2011, the Norwegain Social Research launched an analysis based on a nordic youth survey financed by NORDBUK. Among the interesting findings in the survey, was the fact that approximately 50% of all Nordic boys believe that men are better leaders than women – despite the fact that the young men in the survey were born long after Vigdis Finnbogadottir became the worlds first female president and Gro Harlem Bruntland's milestone of «woman government»...
With a model that is aiming to find a social justice for the members of state, and that values the work of the civil society, the Nordic countries have found a way that we believe is sustainable, especially because it asks for all members' equal participation. From our side, NORDBUK are one of the biggest providers of financial support for pan-Nordic youth organizations. And we are doing so because it is a way of empowering our societys biggest fund: the future.