International Youth Day: History, significance and this year's theme

Written By: Vyomica Berry WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Aug 12, 2021, 10:02 AM(IST)

World's youth rallies against climate change Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in 1999 that August 12 be declared International Youth Day

International Youth Day is commemorated every year on August 12. On this day, youngsters around the world organise activities to raise awareness about the situation of youth in their country.

History

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in 1999 that August 12 be declared International Youth Day.

The Assembly recommended that public information activities be organised to support the Day as a way to promote better awareness of the World Programme of Action for Youth, adopted by the General Assembly in 1995.

×

State of the world's youth

Today, there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 per cent of the global population.

By 2030, the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that make up the 2030 Agenda, the number of youth is projected to have grown by 7 per cent, to nearly 1.3 billion.

As youth are increasingly demanding more just, equitable and progressive opportunities and solutions in their societies, the need to address the multifaceted challenges faced by young people (such as access to education, health, employment and gender equality) have become more pressing than ever.

Youth can be a positive force for development when provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive. In particular, young people should acquire the education and skills needed to contribute in a productive economy; and they need access to a job market that can absorb them into the labour force.

The theme of International Youth Day 2021

With the world’s population expected to increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years, it has been has been acknowledged that there is a need for inclusive support mechanisms that ensure youth continue to amplify efforts collectively and individually to restore the planet and protect life, while integrating biodiversity in the transformation of food systems.

The theme of International Youth Day 2021, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, highlights the success of such a global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.

During the 2021 ECOSOC Youth Forum (EYF), the issues and priorities highlighted by young participants included the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly related to its effect on human health, the environment, and food systems.

As part of the official outcome recommendations of the EYF, young participants stressed the importance of working towards more equitable food systems.

In addition, they highlighted the need for youth to make informed decisions on food choices through increasing global education on the healthiest and most sustainable options for both individuals and the environment. There were also recommendations on providing adequate capacity development with respect to the resilience of food systems, in particular during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in its aftermath.

Through youth education, engagement, innovation and entrepreneurial solutions, this year’s International Youth Day aims to provide a platform for young people to continue the momentum from the EYF in the lead up to the high-level Food Systems Summit.

This year, International Youth Day will be virtually convened by DESA in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Major Group for Children and Youth.

Read in App