KEEPING young people away from undesirable influences is a tremendous challenge, say groups concerned with the welfare of Hong Kong youth. Protecting youths from dangerous drugs, gambling, exploitation for monetary gain and sexual maltreatment is very hard work, said Eric Li Ka-cheung. Mr Li was addressing a press conference last week as chairman of the Preparatory Committee on the Review of the Implementation of the Charter for Youth. The implementation will be reviewed at a conference on November 11. The committee represents the 350 Hong Kong organisations subscribing to the charter. The charter, as defined by the Commission on Youth in July 1993, lays out principles and ideals on youth development and provides a point of reference for policy makers, youth service providers and others involved in youth welfare. Mr Li said one of the conference's main tasks would be to work out how to fully implement 'obligations arising from international conventions and agreements as applied to Hong Kong'. Another challenge was to ensure that young people enjoyed 'civil and political rights under the law without reasonable restriction and discrimination of any kind'. Subscribers say two of their main difficulties were finding funds to carry out programmes and getting the necessary manpower. 'One major problem is getting youth volunteers to help in all the activities,' Mr Li said. He denied criticism that resources for the young were inadequate, pointing out that the Government's subsidies for secondary and tertiary education were high compared with other countries. Mr Li declined to pinpoint which provisions he thought were the most difficult to implement, saying he would leave that to be sorted out at the conference when participants from subscribing organisations, young people and youth workers met for discussion. The group discussions will focus on four main areas reflected in the charter: family and youth; health and welfare; development and participation, and youth rights. 'I hope this experience-sharing exercise will help subscribers to come up with new ideas to promote and realise the spirit of the charter. I also hope we can decide on our priorities and which way we are going in the next year,' Mr Li said. In September this year there were about 350 group and individual subscribers to the charter.