“You are only young once, and if you work it right, once is enough.” – Joe E Lewis
We all may have come across the International Youth Day (IYD) in the last couple of years. The reason for this is not just the all-pervasive nature of the internet and media but also the awareness that is slowly but steadily spreading about the day and its importance and more importantly about the issues that it represents.
But what is its significance? Why is it so important that it needs to be observed as a global awareness day? Let us tell you:
1. In 1998, the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth recommended the annual celebration of International Youth Day. The following year it was endorsed by the UN Assembly and the commemorative day has been celebrated each year on 12 August ever since.
2. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth. It is meant as an opportunity for governments and others to draw attention to youth issues worldwide. During IYD, concerts, workshops, cultural events, and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations take place around the world.
3. All persons between the ages of 15 and 24 qualify as youth, and according to 2010 statistics, they constitute 18% of the global population, with 87% of international youth residing in developing countries.
4. This year the theme for IYD is The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production and the leading role young people can play in that. This is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
5. Over the years, IYD themes have ranged from high unemployment rate and poor working conditions to youth civic engagement and youth and mental health.
6. With social media becoming a huge part of the lives of youth today, efforts are underway across the world to better mould the important messages for the youth in a language and through this medium of communication that they most identify with.
7. This year, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called upon the youth to demand the progress this world needs. He said, "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."
Title image: Jsaafrica