International Youth Day (12 August)
“In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
In 1985, the UN celebrated the first International Year of Youth. On its 10th anniversary, the General Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action for Youth, setting a policy framework and guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people.
The priorities that were adopted by the General Assembly include such areas as education, employment, hunger and poverty, health, environment, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, leisure-time activities, girls and young women, participation, globalization, information and communication technologies, HIV/AIDS, youth and conflict, as well as intergenerational relations
Today, the World Programme of Action for Youth plays a prominent role in youth development. It focuses on measures to strengthen national capacities in the field of youth and to increase the quality and quantity of opportunities available to young people for full, effective and constructive participation in society.
The United Nations Programme on Youth serves as the Focal Point on Youth at the UN. It undertakes a range of activities to promote youth development including supporting intergovernmental policy-making, conducting analytical research and increasing the effectiveness of the UN’s work in youth development by strengthening collaboration and exchange among UN entities through the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development.
On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.
Why it is important
- young people constitute 24.6 % of global population
- young people, their leadership, imagination and energies are important in the continuous development of global society and the communities in which they live
How UN observes this day
On this day various events are organized around the world to highlight the important role of young people in the world. These events vary from organizing conferences on particular issues to concert to promote the role of the youth in society and global world.
The theme of International Youth Day in 2015 is “Youth Civic Engagement.” The engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve sustainable human development. Yet often the opportunities for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are low or non-existent.
There has been recent increasing attention and policy and programming focus on youth civic engagement by governments, UN entities, regional and multilateral organizations, CSOs, youth and researchers. As part of its celebrations for International Youth Day, the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, led by the co-chairs, DESA and UNDP, ran an online campaign in the lead up to International Youth Day 12 August 2015.