International Year of Youth

Aug 5th, 2011 | By | Category: Advocacy, M-20 CAMPAIGN, Youth Speak

In December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 64/134 proclaiming the International Year of Youth from 12 August 2010 to 11 August 2011. By doing so, the international community demonstrated the importance it places on integrating youth-related issues into global, regional, and national development agendas. Under the theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”, the Year aims to promote the ideals of peace, respect for human rights and solidarity across generations, cultures, religions and civilizations. The International Year of Youth is an occasion to raise awareness about the situation of young people around the world, increase youth participation in decision-making processes and promote youth as a smart investment.

Youth and Development

Today, youth represent approximately 18% of the global population, about 1.2 billion people. It is estimated that 87% of youth live in developing countries facing challenges brought about by limited access to resources, healthcare, education, training, employment and economic opportunities. Young people in all countries are a major human resource for development, positive social change and technological innovation. Their ideals, energy and vision are essential for the continuing development of their societies. Young people are not merely passive beneficiaries but effective agents of change. Investing in and partnering with youth is key to addressing these challenges in a sustainable manner.

Young people’s efforts have contributed to combating poverty and hunger in their communities, stemming the HIV/ AIDS pandemic through peer education, championing the protection of the environment and more. Youth have also been pioneers in encouraging dialogue, understanding and respect among people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Youth often lead by example, such as by practicing green and healthy lifestyles, promoting innovative uses of new technologies including utilizing mobile devices and online social networks and by bridging gaps to foster the development of inclusive societies. Their contributions to community, national, regional and global development must be recognized and encouraged. Member States of the United Nations proclaimed the International Year bearing this in mind and with the knowledge that how these challenges are addressed and how youth’s potential is harnessed directly impacts current social and economic conditions. UN Youth Year Document

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