International Youth Day
The United Nations celebrated the first ever International Year of Youth in 1985. A decade later, the UN General Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY), a set of policies and guidelines for nations to look to in improving the situation of the world’s youth. However, it was not until 2000 that the world celebrated the first International Youth Day.
This day serves as an annual celebration of the role of young men and women as essential partners in change, and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth. 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.
Every year has a theme, and 2019’s theme is “Transforming Education”, which highlights efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth. There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever. However, more than half of all children and adolescents aged 6-14 lack basic reading and maths skills, despite the fact that the majority of them are attending school. This global learning crisis threatens to severely hamper progress towards the SDGs.
This year will examine how Governments, young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education so that it becomes a powerful tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Indeed, education is a ‘development multiplier’ as it plays a pivotal role in accelerating progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, be it poverty eradication, good health, gender equality, decent work and growth, reduced inequalities, action on climate or peaceful societies.