August 12th marks the 4th anniversary of International Youth Day, an event organized and adopted by the United Nations. Recognizing the growing role and importance of young people as stakeholders in global development, this year’s theme, “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth,” is a call to action for organizations and individuals to develop partnerships and involve youth, especially in the areas of education, including sexual and reproductive health; political inclusion; employment; and protection of rights.
According to the United Nations, 43 percent of the world’s population is below the age of 25. This number is on the rise, especially in parts of the world that have the slowest economic growth. The theme of this year’s International Youth Day stems from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s announcement in January 2012 to commit to addressing “the needs of the largest generation of young people the world has ever known” by making “working with and for women and young people” a priority in his five-year action agenda.
This year’s goal for International Youth Day is to highlight best practices in developing and expanding these partnerships. Young people today continue to drive change in programming and policies, through advocacy efforts and grass-roots level activities. Women Deliver is committed to engaging with and partnering with youth around the world. In the three regional consultations held by Women Deliver this year, we worked to promote youth participation and equitable access for young people to health services, educational and informational services, and greater involvement in policy-making to ensure greater sustainability in programs and policies.
UN DESA, the UN Agency charged with International Youth Day announcements and activities, has recommendations for ways to be involved and active:
- teaming up to reach out to government, academic, non-governmental, and private sector institutions and advocating for greater partnerships;
- organizing forums, discussions and informational campaigns to support youth and youth rights; and
- planning and organizing performances or other creative outlets demonstrating and celebrating the contributions of young people to society
A series of six live Google chats began this week, with the opportunity for the public to join in on the discussions by submitting questions via Facebook or Twitter. The chats cover topics of political inclusion, citizenship, employment, entrepreneurship, education, and education on sexual and reproductive health took place in the week leading up to International Youth Day.
A map of events taking place around the globe has also been made available online, demonstrating the importance that International Youth Day has taken on globally, and the importance of youth inclusion moving forward.
For more information on International Youth Day 2012, please click here.