The International Youth Day this year has been dedicated to celebrating the youth’s contributions to prevent conflicts and transformation as well as their inclusion in social justice, and sustainable peace.
In the year 1985, the United Nations celebrated its first ever International Year of Youth.
On the 10th anniversary, the General Assembly brought forth the idea and project of the World Program of Action for Youth. In this program, they set a policy framework along with guidelines for a nationwide action and putting together a support system for international funding to progress the situation of young people.
The World Program of Action for Youth has played a very prominent role in youth development till this day. It still focuses on a variety of measures that look to strengthen domestic capacities in the field of youth and the quality and the quantity of opportunities which are available to them for effective and constructive contribution to the society.
15 Priority Areas adopted by the General Assembly to be supported by and worked on along with the youth are the following;
- Hunger and poverty
- Drug abuse
- Juvenile delinquency
- Leisure-time activities
- Girls and young women
- Information and communication technologies
- Youth and conflict
- Intergenerational relations
The adoption of Security Council Resolution 2250 in the year 2015 has brought forth an upward recognition that as representatives of change, the youth is a critical actor in conflict prevention and sustaining peace.
The current generation of youth is the largest in all of history and they often comprise of the majority in countries which have been marked by armed conflict or unrest; therefore considering the needs and aspirations of them in matters of peace and security is a demographic vital.
The youth’s presence in the peace and security agenda and in society is the key to structuring and sustaining peace. The progression of social inclusion for youth, including them in the participation of making decisions as well as their admission to quality education, health care along with basic services promote their role in the society as an active contributor to the general public’s benefit. It also provides the young people with prospects to help them reach their full potential and achieve goals they have.
When the youth is excluded from political, economic and social domains and courses, it can risk factors which promote violence and violent forms of conflict. Such is the reason that identifying and addressing the social exclusion of young people is a requirement for supporting peace.
On 17 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the recommendation that 12th of August, each year, be declared as the International Youth Day. The first one was celebrated in the year 2000.
The theme of International Youth Day this year is Youth Building Peace.
The previous themes and celebrations of International Youth Day are the following.
2016 – Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainability
2015 – Youth Civic Engagement
2014 – Mental Health Matters
2013 – Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward
2012 – Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth
2011 – Change Our World
2010 – Dialogue and Mutual Understanding
2009 – Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future.
2008 – Youth and Climate Change: Time for Action
2007 – Be seen, Be heard: Youth participation for development
2006 – Tackling Poverty Together
2005 – WPAY+10: Making Commitments Matter
2004 – Youth in an Intergenerational Society
2003 – Finding decent and productive work for young people everywhere
2002 – Now and for the Future: Youth Action for Sustainable Development
2001 – Addressing Health and Unemployment
First Observance of International Youth Day 2000
To be part of the International Youth Day, you must contemplate upon what you can do for your community and how you can effectively spread the message of this year’s theme.
You can use the various platforms on social media and use Facebook, Twitter, university newsletters as well as local newspapers. You can make it relatable and use all your channels to spread the message by using #youthday.
You can contact your local and/or national radio stations to have a discussion with distinguished individuals and youth to bring more attention to this event.
You can even organize a public meeting or debate to discuss young people’s contributions to global issues in classrooms, town halls or even gather your friends and have an open floor debate.
If you initiate round table discussions among adults and young people, you will be able to promote intergenerational understanding to bridge generation gaps.
Discuss the idea with your professors and create an “info point” about youth-related issues in your town centre, at high schools, or at university centres.
Use art as a form of communicating the challenges of young people today or how young people are contributing to development.
You can even write to your Minister of Youth to inform him or her about the challenges young people face in their daily lives and to suggest solutions.
A list of Ministers of Youth can be found at this website www.un.org/youth.
Be part of the change that the International Youth Day aims in bringing forth and work for a sustainable environment with a peaceful society for the coming generations.