In 1999, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.
International Youth Day gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement.
There is no universally agreed international definition of the youth age group. For statistical purposes, however, the United Nations - without prejudice to any other definitions made by Member States - defines "youth" as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years. This definition, which arose in the context of preparations for the International Youth Year (1985) (see A/36/215), was endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 36/28 of 1981.
This statistically oriented definition of youth, in turn, entails that children are considered those persons under the age of 14. Worthy of note, however, is that Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines ‘children’ as persons up to the age of 18. At the time, it was hoped that the Convention would provide protection and rights to as large an age-group as possible, especially as there was no similar document on the rights of youth.
Many countries also draw the line on youth with regard to the age at which a person is given equal treatment under the law - often referred to as the "age of majority." This age is commonly 18 in many countries; so that once a person attains this age, he or she is considered to be an adult. Nonetheless, the operational definition and nuances of the term "youth" vary from country to country, depending on relative sociocultural, institutional, economic and political factors.
Today, there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 per cent of the global population . By 2030 - the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that make up the 2030 Agenda - the number of youth is projected to have grown by 7 per cent, to nearly 1.3 billion.
The theme of International Youth Day 2021, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, highlights the success of such a global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.
With the world’s population expected to increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years, it has become recognized by numerous stakeholders that simply producing a larger volume of healthier food more sustainably will not ensure human and planetary wellbeing. Other crucial challenges must also be addressed, such as the interlinkages embodied by the 2030 Agenda including poverty reduction; social inclusion; health care; biodiversity conservation; and climate change mitigation. It has been acknowledged that there is a need for inclusive support mechanisms that ensure youth continue to amplify efforts collectively and individually to restore the planet and protect life, while integrating biodiversity in the transformation of food systems.
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Youth Responses to COVID-19
COVID-19 affects all segments of the population, with young people playing a key role in the management of this outbreak and the recovery following the outbreak. Though much is still unknown on how the disease affects young people, governments are mandated in the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) to ensure their services meet the needs of young people. In these circumstances, it is important to ensure that youth are heard alongside other community and patient voices in the rollout of health and non-health interventions in response to COVID-19.
Building up the capacity of youth to be able to make their own decisions on health and to take responsibility for health is also a key element of WPAY. In this context, health education, public health promotion, and evidence-based information are critical in combating the spread and effects of COVID-19, especially to challenge the spread of disinformation online. The role of governments as well as youth organizations and community groups will be essential to ensure that trustworthy public health information is disseminated. Young people themselves are also utilizing online technologies to spread public health information in engaging ways such as videos to promote effective handwashing or explain how social distancing can save lives.
Young innovators are already responding to the virus through social impact innovation. Around the world, a number of initiatives are being developed to leverage young people’s efforts to generate and deliver support to at-risk populations or populations affected by the pandemic. Whilst most of these initiatives are on a voluntary basis (e.g. young people offering to shop for and deliver food to elders or at-risk people), they can also take the shape of social enterprises. Many youth-driven technology innovation hubs are supporting startups to develop effective solutions to address COVID-19. For example, CcHUB (an open living lab and pre-incubation space) in Nigeria is offering to provide financial, research and design support for projects related to COVID-19.
Youth Social Entrepreneurship and the 2030 Agenda seeks to contribute to the understanding of how youth social entrepreneurship can both support youth development and help accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. To do so, the Report first synthesizes the current discussion on social entrepreneurship and anchors it in the context of the 2030 Agenda.
The Report then turns toward the situation of youth and examines weather youth social entrepreneurship can offer not only employment opportunities, but also support other elements of youth development such as youth participation. An assessesment of the potential and the challenges of youth social entrepreneurship as a tool supporting the 2030 Agenda and youth development in its broadest sense is also covered.
Finally, the report examines how new technologies can be leveraged to address some challenges faced by young social entrepreneurs as well as further support youth social entrepreneurship in its efforts to advance sustainable development. It also offers policy guidance to build enabling, responsive and sustainable national ecosystems for young social entrepreneurs.
To view the complete report, click here.
Source : UN