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Youth Affairs Minister Nikki Kaye. Youth Affairs Minister Nikki Kaye.[/caption] Youth Minister Nikki Kaye was pleased to address the opening of the four-day UN Youth Declaration in Auckland today. “This is a great opportunity for young people to have a say on matters that are important to them, and for their voice to be heard,” says Ms Kaye. Over the four days, participants take part in workshops and debates covering a range of public policy areas, from education and the environment to foreign affairs, law and order and social development. “The recommendations that flow out of these workshops and debates are compiled into a declaration that is presented to various stakeholders. “I told the young people this morning that their recommendations will be taken seriously by the government. “For example, issues raised in the 2013 declaration included bullying, pressures on young people, youth suicide and mental health. “Since then various actions have been taken to address these issues, and the declaration has at times reinforced the importance of policies in these key areas. “Some initiatives that have happened include a bullying prevention guide for schools, a youth crime action plan, a self-help, e-therapy tool to help young people combat depression and anxiety, and cross-agency work to address family and sexual violence. “I’ve committed to sharing this year’s declaration with my colleagues and making sure it’s passed on to officials within our ministries. “Events such as the declaration are an important way to help develop tomorrow’s leaders, and enable the views of young people to be reflected in policy-making. “This year is particularly notable, as it sees the 20th anniversary of the United Nations World Programme of Action for Youth. “The occasion is being marked by a #YouthNow campaign, and I encourage young people to be part of this by joining or leading online conversations, writing blogs, hosting events and raising awareness of youth issues on social media.” – –  ]]>