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National​ ​Symposium​ ​on​ ​Health​ ​and Development​ ​of​ ​Adolescents​ ​and​ ​Youth: 01,​ ​02​ ​and​ ​03​ ​July​ ​2014

"All for the Malagasy youth!”

The 2014 Youth Symposium in Madagascar was officially opened on 1 July 2014 at the Higher Institute of Social Work (ISTS) by the Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, Roger KOLO, in the presence of the Minister of Education, Economics and Planning, Mr. Herilanto RAVELOHARISON, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Jean Anicet ANDRIAMOSARISOA, Mrs. Fatma SAMOURA, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Madagascar and the Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Madagascar, Mrs. Agathe LAWSON. The other Ministries were also widely represented at the opening ceremony. 

The 2014 Youth Symposium is organized by the Ministry of Economy and Planning, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and UNFPA in partnership with sister agencies of the United Nations System. It is a result of the great willingness of the stakeholders to place special emphasis on Malagasy youth and aims to give young people the opportunity to talk about the issues that concern them and to formulate recommendations for the future, to come up. The involvement of young people in the whole decision-making process concerning them constitutes one of the best practices in order for them to feel both actors and beneficiaries. And this, under the participatory approach that the Ministry of Economy and Planning advocates for all planning activities. 

"This symposium should examine the role of young people to play in the development of their peers, their community, and the country as a whole, as well as all other actors. The Malagasy youth will be responsible, active, united, integrated, competitive, healthy and protected from all scourges," declared the Minister of Youth and Sports, Jean Anicet ANDRIAMOSARISOA during his speech. 

Six themes will be addressed during the Youth Symposium 2014:
(1) Health, Sexual and Reproductive Health 

(2) Education and Training 

(3) Violence and Addiction

(4) Environment and Sustainable Development 

(5) Employment and Entrepreneurship 

(6) Political Inclusion and Youth participation 

Throughout the discussions and exchanges on these six themes, the 2014 Youth Symposium aims to increase the awareness and commitment of the various stakeholders on the investment in the promotion of the rights and development of adolescents and young people in the different development plans and strategies of Madagascar. Since youth is a necessary and cross-cutting theme, it must be taken into account in the overall development plans of both private and public actors. 

During the crisis period in Madagascar, young people were exposed to various risks, including loss employment, drop-out and the use of the worst forms of trades. The aggravation of some indicators related to youth provides a blackboard for the country. For example, the birth rate among adolescent girls rose from 148 births per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19 in 2008 to 163 births in 2013, according to the National Survey on MDG Monitoring in Madagascar (ENSOMD) . 

The higher level commitment offers new perspectives and gives special emphasis to young people in general by referring to the new General Policy of the State. The objectives of the General Policy of the State directly involve the synergy of all actions aimed at young people. 

"Investing in young people, especially in adolescents, is one of the most prudent investments, a country can do. Young people can help break the cycle of poverty, consolidate the social fabric and create a sustainable future," said UNFPA Representative in Madagascar, Mrs. Agathe Lawson. During the three days of the Symposium, more than 350 participants will be gathered at the Higher Institute of Social Work, including more than 200 young people from the 22 regions of Madagascar, as well as the other islands in the Indian Ocean; the Comoros, Mauritius and the Seychelles. They will have a strong responsibility to build a strong foundation for the promotion of youth in Madagascar. 

"Let us ensure that today's youth have the support, opportunities and programmes necessary for comprehensive development, they do not become a demographic bomb in 2025. All in front for Malagasy youth! "Said Tiana RAZAFINIMANANA, a young member of the Youth First network