The United Nations General Assembly today commemorated the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth with an acknowledgement that young people have been “disproportionately” affected by many global challenges but “are ready and willing to be actively involved in shaping their future.”
In his remarks to the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the commemoration comes at “a critical time” as “2015 represents an opportunity for transformation.”
“As we approach the adoption of a new set of sustainable development goals, the global community has an unparalleled opportunity to change the course of history,” the UN chief said, and “as the largest generation of youth the world has ever known, you are in the driving seat of this change.
“You are the first generation that can end poverty – and the last generation that can act to avoid the worst effects of climate change,” Mr. Ban told the gathered delegates.
“I call on governments to enhance their efforts to implement the World Programme of Action for Youth under the new post-2015 development agenda, and to include young people as part of their delegations to the summit in September,” he said.
More than 60 delegates have signed up to speak at the High-Level Event of the General Assembly marking the 20th Anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth to highlight Youth Priorities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda,which “offers an important opportunity for Member States and other relevant stakeholders to take stock of progress made in its implementation, identify the gaps and challenges ahead while discussing the best way forward for the full, effective and accelerated implementation of this ground-breaking agreement.”
Ahmad Alhendawi, the first ever United Nations Envoy on Youth, also addressed the High-Level Event, saying the action plan is a “milestone in articulating a vision for youth development.”
“To this day,” he said, “the document remains one of the most important internationally agreed paths to a better future young people deserve.”
Earlier today, as part of his Office’s digital #YouthNow campaign, Mr. Alhendawi tweeted a number of “youth facts” and messages such as: “With 1/2 world’s population under 25yrs, investing into youth is not luxury – It’s a necessity.”
Both the UN Secretary-General and the Acting President of the UN General Assembly, Alvaro José de Mendonça e Moura, noted that youth around the world have been disproportionately affected by economic crises, recession and today’s many global challenges.
“Youth unemployment continues to be a formidable issue worldwide, with young people three times more likely to be jobless than adults,” Mr. Mendonça e Moura said.
But on a positive note, he said, “governments are becoming increasingly aware of the need for legal and policy frameworks that adequately respond to young peoples’ needs, aspirations and demands. I am heartened to note that as of 2014, 127 countries had a national youth policy.”
“The #YouthNow digital campaign, organized by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, has also served as a meaningful platform for engaging web users on youth issues. Since its launch only four months ago, the site has already registered close to 500 million impressions,” he said.”
“These examples, as well as many others, demonstrate that young people around the world are ready and willing to be actively involved in shaping their future,” Mr. Mendonça e Moura said.