Malta is committed to providing the youth with the necessary skills and opportunities they need to realise their potential, Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, said during an EU Foreign Affairs Council Session in Brussels, according to a press statement by the government’s Department of Information (DOI).
Mr Abela referred to the youth as the driving force for the successful implementation of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda. “Bearing in mind that half the world’s population is under the age of 30, investing in youth is critical,” the minister said.
“Those who learn from an early age to appreciate democratic values can help build stable democratic and peaceful structures for the future,” the minister said. On this note, he mentioned that Malta became the second country within the European Union after Austria to lower the national voting age to 16, so they can also cast their vote in the upcoming MEP and local council elections. Minister Abela also praised the work of the National Youth Council in Malta and the contribution of Maltese youth to local council work.
“We believe that more emphasis should be put on the benefits of cleaner, climate-smart growth with a view to bringing new jobs, economic opportunities and innovation. Through the engagement of different stakeholders, including the private sector, we can increase the drive towards achieving sustainable, responsible investment opportunities,” Mr Abela said.
The minister added that while the Joint Synthesis Report (JSR) produced by the European Union and its member states on how to implement the sustainable development goals through EU Development Policy shows significant progress, it also has some deficiencies in follow-up measures on the agreed commitments. He urged the mainstreaming of sustainable development across all sectors, as well as he voiced the importance of contribution to be made to the JSR in view of the capacity building measures.
The Development Foreign Affairs Council — chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini — also discussed the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda. The ministers exchanged views on how to successfully tackle the challenges of climate change. The discussion contributed to the preparations for the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, coming up in July this year, as well as to the Climate Summit and the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, to be held in September 2019, as a side event of the United Nations General Assembly, according to the DOI report.