Nuorisodelegaatti Sonja Huttusen puhe YK:n yleiskokouksessa

YK-nuorisodelegaatti Sonja Huttunen, YK-liiton puheenjohtaja Katri Kulmuni ja toiminnanjohtaja Helena Laukko jakoivat Maailman parhaita uutisia Helsingin rautatieasemalla Kestävän kehityksen tavoitteiden 1-vuotispäivänä. Kuva: Laura Böök

Suomen tämänvuotinen YK-nuorisodelegaatti Sonja Huttunen piti viime viikolla puheen YK:n yleiskokouksen kolmannessa komiteassa.

Yleiskokouksen kolmas komitea käsittelee mm. nuorisokysymyksiä. Eri maiden nuorisodelegaatit ovat perinteisesti pitäneet puheensa komitean istunnossa loka-marraskuun taitteessa.

Suomen Sonja Huttunen piti puheessaan esillä erityisesti nuorten ihmisoikeuksia, tyttöjen ja nuorten naisten asemaa sekä turvallisuusneuvoston viime vuonna hyväksymää Nuoret, rauha ja turvallisuus -päätöslauselmaa.

Sonjan englanniksi YK:ssa pitämä puhe on luettavissa kokonaisuudessaan alla. Lisäksi puhe on katseltavissa YK:n oman televisiokanavan tallenteena, ks. UNTV (6 min 30 sek. eteenpäin, englanniksi).


Statement of Youth Delegate, Ms. Sonja Huttunen, Finland

Chairperson, distinguished excellences, fellow youth delegates

It is an honour for me to address this committee as a youth delegate. I would like to discuss the following issues: Firstly, migration; secondly, startups, and thirdly, equality and non-discrimination.

The on-going large-scale movements of refugees and migrants are particularly a movement of young people. To address the root causes of large-scale irregular migration pressures, it is important to understand the underlying conditions that drive particularly young people to leave their homes. Lack of good education systems and scarce employment opportunities, as well as fragile societies and insecurity have pushed young people to seek opportunities elsewhere.

The particular role and needs of young people related to large-scale movements and the many factors behind them, were also highlighted in the New York declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

The declaration notes that education is a powerful driver for change that protects young people and fosters their inclusion and hope for the future. Similarly, the declaration recognises the economic potential of young people and aims to create more employment opportunities for them.

Providing young people with a good education as well as better employment opportunities are crucial in responding to many global issues from combatting marginalization, radicalization as well as in preventing irregular migration. It is important to put more emphasis on vocational education and entrepreneurship training in the future.

Young people need to play a meaningful role in society. A sense of inclusion and belonging is particularly important. Sports, hobbies and other activities are important in young people’s lives, building communities, friendships and as a by-product also social resilience. Young people need their voices to be heard and they need to be able to meaningfully speak for themselves in decision-making processes.

As young people, we do not need the world to take care of our challenges for us. We merely need the world to work with us.

The UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security calls for young people to be recognized not as victims but as positive drivers of change. Young people can act as a catalyst for growth and development as well as a driving force in the transformation of conflicts and crises in peaceful societies.


I believe that the potential and spirit of startups will save the world. Not only because they focus on innovation and have the potential to create jobs and growth that we desperately

need, but also because of how startups think. In startups you have people around you who support you, who do not doubt you and who help your idea to grow. They don’t ask why, but why not. With your team you take risks, you fail and you go forward and finally you may succeed. And maybe an angel investor comes and invests in your idea.

From climate change to peace and security to Agenda2030, we need people who are like angel investors, who believe that young people can make a difference. We need people to say why not, instead of questioning why. We need people to invest in youth and we need people who give young people opportunities to show their real potential.

The startup boom, which is largely lead by young people, is already making significant impact on the economy as well as the society. Applying the same logic, young people are capable of transforming our societies and creating solutions to global issues if given the space.


I wish to conclude my speech in a call for equality and non-discrimination. Xenophobia, racism and intolerance pose a threat to democracy, peace and security, dividing our societies. We need to battle these ideologies and we need our leaders to lead by example by condemning all forms of racial discrimination, violence and hate speech.

The duty to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms is not relative. Especially in difficult times, we must respect human rights as the bedrock on which we stand.

I thank you for your attention.