International Youth Day
By admin August 13, 2015




In 1999 the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth requested the UN General Assembly support an annual International Youth Day. Since the acceptance of resolution 54/120 the United Nations has supported International Youth Day every year on August 12th. The Focal Point on Youth committee selects a theme every year considering input from youth organizations and the UN Inter-Agency Network in Youth Development. The 2015 International Youth Day theme is Youth Civic Engagement. Youth, governments, youth organizations, and other bi-lateral and multi-lateral organizations are encouraged to organize and promote activities to raise awareness about the situation of youth in their own countries.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, has noted that no one is more aware of the needs of the increasingly changing international climate than today’s youth. In an interview concerning International Youth Day he declared “I am calling on young people to speak out – and I am urging leaders to listen.” The UN also recognizes that governments and other organizations need to address youth no matter their social grouping. Youth civic engagement must include youth from all social, cultural and religious backgrounds. By involving youth from all areas of society governments and other organizations will receive a vast amount of data including social and cultural indicators that will increase human rights and improve living conditions.

This year’s theme on Youth Civic Engagement focuses on including young people in government policy and programming at all levels. Governments around the world are paying increasing attention to the voices and needs of youth while using this information to advise policy and programing decisions. The Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, noted that this is the “largest generation of young people in history to turn the world we want into the world we deserve.” Governments around the world have increased their focus on youth with over 120 governments adopting national youth policies to empower young people.

Governments and donor organizations are focusing on giving youth a voice to increase involvement in government policies and programming decisions. One way governments are doing this is through the increasing use of social media campaigns. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram are becoming popular outlets for youth to voice their opinions. Not only can youth express their opinions on these outlets they can also lead the movements and provide officials with a real understanding of the issues they are facing. YouTube’s #likeagirl Campaign raised awareness to the discriminatory nature of language against women and became one of the youth campaigns of 2014. Devex launched the #YouthWill campaign as an interactive conversation in which they can discuss the power of youth to affect the future. Social media will be an increasingly important platform for youth to share their opinions with governments and the international community creating more attention on issues actually affecting youth globally.


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