International Youth Day provides an opportunity to celebrate young peoples’ voices
Today, Aug. 12, is International Youth Day, a day celebrated annually to bring youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrate the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society.
The Day provides an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of the potential of young people for bringing peace and change to the world.
It was established by the UN General Assembly, which on 17 December 1999, endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth calling for Aug. 12 to be declared International Youth Day.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, (UNDESA) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world needs to leverage the full potential of all generations. Solidarity across generations is key for sustainable development. Collaboration is essential to foster successful and equitable intergenerational relations and partnerships to ensure “no one is left behind.” While intergenerational solidarity and concern for future generations is being called for in tackling global issues – with the UN Secretary-General recently putting forward new recommendations on renewed intergenerational solidarity, including in Our Common Agenda – many challenges remain.
The Global Report on Ageism launched by the United Nations in March 2021 highlights the many data gaps that exist with regards to ageism against youth, according to UNDESA. Despite this lack of research, young people continue to report age-related barriers in various spheres of their lives such as employment, political participation, health and justice. On an individual level, these age-related obstacles can deeply impact wellbeing and livelihoods not only during the youth years, but also in adulthood. On a societal level, ageism prevents us from thinking and designing policies and social services that adopt a life-course approach and are fair for all ages.
In this context, the objective of this year’s International Youth Day theme, Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages, is to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the SDGs and leave no one behind. The 2022 International Youth Day will also raise awareness on certain barriers to intergenerational solidarity, notably ageism, which impacts young and old persons, while having detrimental effects on society as a whole.
This theme builds on the momentum from two side events organized by UNDESA and partners earlier this year on 1) ageism in health and employment and 2) ageism in politics on the margins of the 60th Commission for Social Development and the 11th edition of the ECOSOC Youth Forum, respectively.
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