“I call on leaders and adults everywhere to do everything possible to enable the world’s youth to enjoy lives of safety, dignity and opportunity and contribute to the fullest of their great potential.” – António Guterres, Secretary General of United Nations
The International Youth Day is commemorated, annually, on the 12th of August! This day mainstreams youth voices, actions, and initiatives to the attention of the international community. It is also a celebration on the role of young women and men as essential partners in change for a sustainable future. On daily basis, young people and youth organisations are addressing issues and challenges that youth are facing on the basis of economic status, ethnic group, gender, and other characteristics.
The economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic is set to make the job market more challenging for youth. The ILO reports that in the first quarter of 2020, about 5.4% of global working hours, that is equivalent to 155 million full-time jobs, were lost relative to the fourth quarter of 2019. Moreover, the vast majority of challenges humanity currently faces, such as: the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change require concerted global action and the meaningful engagement and participation of young people to be addressed effectively.
Hence, the theme of the International Youth Day 2020 is “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, and highlights the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national, regional, and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
A social campaign, #31DaysOfYOUth, was launched to celebrate young people throughout the month of August, leading up and following the International Youth Day, to help spread the word and strike up a conversation surrounding youth engagement for global action. This year’s Youth Day seeks to put the spotlight on youth engagement through the following three interconnected streams: Engagement at the local/community level; Engagement at the national level (formulation of laws, policies, and their implementation); and, Engagement at the global level.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe that direct and meaningful youth engagement in the decision making processes is crucial for the drafting, monitoring, and evaluation of all policies related to or made for youth and / or youth related issues. We shall continue to encourage the full participation of young men and women in the development process of their countries. Hence, for the past 70 years, we have consistently promoted youth leadership and participation at all levels, especially among youth.
Today, around the world, a number of initiatives are being developed by young people to leverage their efforts in order to generate and deliver support to and for one another. We also highlight the importance of education, as it aids young people to prepare themselves for challenges that they are going to face ahead. Additionally, on the occasion of the International Youth Day, we step up and call upon young people and our members to be informed, inclusive, and accessible, to and for local, national, regional, and global actions.
Join us in celebrating youth, today and always, as they continue to improve our world through their voices, actions, and initiatives!