I would like to extend my cordial greetings to all of you who gathered at this Youth Forum which is being held within the framework of the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies, and express my heartfelt gratitude for initiating, organizing and participating in this important event.
At the outset, I wish to highlight the particular significance that the Government of Mongolia attaches to this Youth Forum. Over 20 years have passed since Mongolia embarked upon the road of democratic development. Like every human being strives not to get old, to be young forever, we in Mongolia used to say that our democracy is young. But it appears that we have conducted six parliamentary elections by now and became a country of sustained democracy with 20 year-old history. Obviously we have much more to learn, but we had already accumulated enough values and experiences that we could share with others. Today the youth constitute over half of our population. Consequently, Mongolia is a country with young population who were born and grown up during the past 20 years with the ideals of democracy, whose brain and soul had accepted entirely democratic values. They are the ones who would take further the noble deeds of deepening and consolidating democracy. Although there seems no obstacle on your way, I wish to remind you from this rostrum that only through concerted efforts you can achieve the success.
Democracy will never exist by itself, independently from people, from youth. Democracy always needs to be taken care of, it requires cooperation and learning. Democracy cannot be protected and developed without learning the culture of democracy, without respect for civic freedom and rights. Therefore, Mongolia has defined the promotion of democracy education as its top priority during the past two years of its presidency over the Community of Democracies. We are extremely happy that you have chosen the issue of democracy education as one of the main themes for discussion at this Youth Forum. On 28 November 2012 the United Nations General Assembly adopted at the initiative of Mongolia a specific resolution entitled “Education for democracy”. I am confident that you will discuss the ways of practical implementation of this resolution and submit your valuable views and recommendations to the Ministerial Conference.
The other themes to be discussed at the Forum are also specific as they are closely related to pressing issues of today. Thus, it is extremely important that due attention shall be given to consideration of challenges faced in strengthening the culture of democracy, including the fight against corruption, the promotion of initiative and vigorous actions by young activists, inter-generational dialogue and cooperation. There is no doubt that the Forum will bring its positive results in expanding further the exchange of information and experiences on how youth in different countries promote the values of democracy, integrate them in their cultural identity and life, as well as in planning their future activities.
Taking this opportunity I wish to draw your attention to another important issue. Mongolia along with other countries around the world formulated its national Millennium Development Goals and had them adopted by its Parliament in 2005. One of the specific elements of our MDGs was the inclusion and adoption of the 9th Goal on human rights, democratic governance, and fight against corruption in addition to the globally recognized eight MDGs. Therefore, we should pay particular attention to full implementation of our ninth MDG.
Youth representatives from different corners of the world came to this Forum to discuss and exchange views on issues which they face in democracy promotion and consolidation, and bring their shared voices to the Community of Democracies’ Ministerial Conference to be held on 29 April. Thus, as I understand, the Forum will continue the spirit and process started by the Youth Forum in 2011 in Vilnius of Lithuania.
We attach a particular significance to the fact representatives of new democracies from Asia are present at this Forum. I believe that you will have an opportunity to share with your knowledge and experiences accumulated in the course of developing and strengthening youth democratic movements, exchange your views and ideas.
In conclusion, I would like to extend once again my heartfelt congratulations to you, youth representatives from different continents gathered in Ulaanbaatar – the capital city of democratic Mongolia, and wish every success in your endeavors. Warm welcome to Mongolia!