We can ask ourselves are we investing enough in our young people, seeing they have the energy and creativity to solve many of the problems that have been handed down to them? Through education, can we provide opportunities for young people to develop their skills to engage more fully with decision makers in the local government and civil society? Do we have to wait until they are ‘grown up’ or can we capitalise on their goodwill before they have been excluded through unemployment and other forms of exclusion.
The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is “Youth Civic Engagement.”
On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations 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.
The theme of International Youth Day, 12 August 2015, is “Youth Civic Engagement.” 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.
There has been recent increasing attention and policy and programming focus on youth civic engagement by governments, UN entities, regional and multilateral organizations, CSOs, youth and researchers. As part of its celebrations for International Youth Day, the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, led by the co-chairs, DESA and UNDP, is running an online campaign in the lead up to International Youth Day 12 August 2015.
Secretary-General’s Message for 2015
Emerging threats, violent extremism, shifting political conditions, economic turmoil and social transformations are combining to heighten the challenges facing the world’s young people. No one knows better than them the issues at stake or the best way to respond. That is why I am calling on young people to speak out – and I am urging leaders to listen.
As the world changes with unprecedented speed, young people are proving to be invaluable partners who can advance meaningful solutions. Youth movements and student groups are challenging traditional power structures and advocating a new social contract between States and societies. Young leaders have contributed fresh ideas, taken proactive measures, and mobilized through social media as never before.
I applaud the millions of young people who are protesting for rights and participation, addressing staggering levels of youth unemployment, raising their voices against injustice, and advocating global action for people and the planet.
In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.
Volunteerism is an ideal way to improve society – and it is open to virtually everyone. Youth can also join forces with the United Nations as we move from forging the new sustainable development goals to implementing them. That spirit of action is embodied in the theme of this International Day: “Youth and Civic Engagement.”
I stand with the world’s young people in calling for measures to secure human rights, economic progress, environmental stewardship and social inclusion.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Charter and the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth. In support of their aims, my Youth Envoy is helping to mobilize this largest generation of young people in history. As he says, youth engagement can help turn the world we want into the world we deserve.
Let us all support young people in creating a future where our planet is protected and all people live in dignity.
Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
International Youth Day is an opportunity to celebrate the creative force and the innovative impetus that young people bring to every society. This year’s theme – “Youth Civic Engagement” – emphasizes the role played by the involvement and inclusion of young people in building social cohesion and collective well-being.
International Conventions and Declarations
- United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of Their Liberty (14 December 1990)
- United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules) (29 November 1985)
- Declaration on the Promotion among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding between Peoples (7 December 1965)
UN Documents on Youth
- General Assembly Resolutions
- Secretary-General’s Reports
- Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolutions
- Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Reports
Publications and Other Resources
- From INEE:
We highly encourage you to visit the UN Youth Envoy’s website to find out about the events that are being organized to celebrate the day and to find out how you can get involved. For instance, you can join the International Youth Day Twitter Surge on August 12th; join the chats using #YouthDay and #YouthNow.Civic engagement for peace: bringing together Lebanese and Syrian youth
Lebanon – RET
Supporting youth with adult responsibilities
Refugee camps, Liberia – Finn Church Aid
The lost contributions of forgotten youth: forced ‘home’ to Afghanistan from the UK
Refugee Support Network
Empowering Somali youth for social change in camps and upon return
Dadaab Refugee Centre, Kenya – RET
Increased self-esteem for youth through non-formal education
Rakhine State, Myanmar – Finn Church Aid
Disengaging from conflict, a first step towards civic engagement
Democratic Republic of Congo – RET
- UN Youth Library