International Youth Day : Leaders of the Future, Innovation for Tomorrow

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Did you know that the world currently holds the largest amount of youth in history? With the increasing population of youths, there is also an increase in the issues youth face, such as poverty, lack of proper education and having a sustainable environment for the future generation. Youth alone cannot make the world a better place, as they struggle with poverty, lack of education and resources to achieve results. Therefore, it is important to give young people the opportunity to express themselves and achieve their potential.

International Youth Day promotes this idea of empowering young people, involving youth into solving world problems and creating a future for themselves and others. Want to know more about International Youth Day and what we (youth and adults) can do? This article got you prepared! Read on to find out more!

What is International Youth Day?

International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 of every year. It was declared International Youth Day on 17 December 1999, by the United Nations General Assembly and World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998). This day is celebrated to bring attention to issues faced by youth between the ages of 15 and 24 to the international community as well as to celebrate the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society.

Youth Day is celebrated to spread awareness about world wide youth issues to the world, at the same time empowering young people to become the leaders of the next generation by giving them a platform and resources to achieve their potential.

Here is some of the topics of issues that International Youth Day focuses on

  • Education
  • Improving the quality of education to all youths in the world and entitlement of equality of education

  • Employment
  • Prohibiting of labor exploitation such as child labor, increase rate in youth employment and reduce underemployment, for example, a person with college degree working in low paying job that does not require any creditial to work.

  • Hunger and poverty
  • To eliminate hunger and poverty from youths, efforts in providing youths with self sufficiency by teaching them technical skills such as agriculture, to be self employed as well as providing them with opportunity for jobs.

  • Health
  • Proving health care and and development of health education, sanitation and health hygiene system to youth

  • Environment
  • Preserving natural environment for the future generations and strengthening of environmental education

  • Drug abuse
  • Introduction of drug reduction plans, recreations, and rehabilitation system for youth

  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Prevention measures for violence and youth crimes as well as providing rehabilitation and care system

  • Leisure-time activities
  • Providing free youth recreation system for the psychological, cognitive and physical development of young people

  • Girls and young women
  • Protection of girls and young women against discriminations and violence, entitlement to education, health and employment

  • Full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and in decision-making
  • Encouraging and providing platform for youths to make decision for their own future

Theme for 2021: Food System and Youth

International Youth Day Food System Summit 2021

This year’s theme for Youth Day is, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, with the aim of ensuring that transforming the food system would not be achieved without participation of bright young people around the world.

With the increase of population in the world, the food crisis has become an issue for people all over the world. In fact, the world population is expected to increase to 2 billion people in the next 30 years. Furthermore, the Covid-19 situation has added pressure to the food instability affecting farmers due to the disruption of markets and rapid change in demand and supply in the market.

This year, The United Nations hopes to bring youth around the world virtually to be more informed about the food crisis of the world, emphasizing on a fair, impartial and sustainable food system solution to the world with young people around the world, in accordance to Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

A webinar will be organized with a global survey conducted to report on youth’s perspectives related to issues pertaining to nutrition, food security, environmental sustainability, food consumption habits, food access and cost, and mechanisms for youth inclusion in the dialogues of transforming food systems. The result of this survey will be reflected in the main takeaway of the International Youth Day 2021, which will be further discussed with the Un committee and work together with youth around the world to find solutions to these transformation of food systems.

Ways to get Involved in Food System Summit 2021


You can also attend the Food System Summit 2021, which is the 2021 theme for Youth Day, a part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The summit aims to achieve healthier, more sustainable and fair food systems for all people by bringing people together such farmers, indigenous people, youth organizations, consumer groups, environmental activists, and other key stakeholders and coming up with solutions to change the world food system.

  1. Summit Dialogues
  2. To improve engagement with citizens all over the world, one can convene a Dialogue and contribute directly to the Summit’s ambitious vision and objectives.

  3. Become a part of the food summit community
  4. Take part in the Community platform that is open to everyone with an interest in contributing to transforming food systems and learn an share your thoughts with like minded people around the world

  5. Become a food summit hero
  6. Join the global movement by becoming a #FoodSystemsHero, for safe, accessible, sustainable and equitable food systems where you can make a commitment to learn, share, gather and act for food systems transformation.

Details of the summit would be linked at the end of the article! Read on to know more about it.

What you can do on Youth Day? (As Youth)

You might wonder, what can I as a youth, do on International Youth Day other than participating in the Food System Summit? (If you are an adult, take a look at the next section on what you can do on Youth Day as an adult.) For Youth, it is important to increase knowledge about what is going on in the world, especially with young people, and take the initiative to spread awareness of these issues to the world.

3 Ways to Participate in International Youth Day


  1. Engage in Discussion, setup virtual meetings to have public debates and meetings with people inside and outside the country. Exchange ideas and cultural backgrounds to deepen understanding with each other.
  2. Contact your local radio stations to have public discussion with youths and educate the public about the issues youth face.
  3. Organise events and exhibitions that involve youths, such as art, music, culture to showcase youth’s work as well and incorporate issues that need public awareness.

Contribute as an Adult on International Youth Day

While Youth Day is a celebration for young people around the world, adults play an important part in making an impact on International Youth Day. Youths need a platform for their voices to be heard as well as financial aid to achieve their success. Here is a list of things you as an adult can do on International Youth Day.

  • Promote Youth Organizations by organizing events and gathering virtually to bring together youths to have discussions, exchange ideas and have public debates.
  • Create “info points” about youth related issues in the center of town/ village, schools and centers where people can learn about youth related issues and make contributions to these issues.
  • Make responsible choices, such as ensuring your purchases do not come from child/youth labor or any youth exploitation.
  • Support and advocate for Youth’s voices and expression, listen and help spread the awareness
  • Be involved in Food System Summit 2021, become a Food Summit Hero to increase knowledge and share ideas

Not only getting involved in empowering youth is an important role as an adult but leaving a sustainable Earth for the future generation is also a great way of contributing to Youth Day.

Leaving a Sustainable Earth for Youths

Leaving Youth sustainable earth
We are currently spending 1.7 times more Earth resources, the future for the next generation is hanging by the thread. We can contribute greatly to the youth’s future by living sustainably and ensuring that there is enough for younger generations to live on this Earth. So what can we do?

  • Live minimal
  • Remove unnecessary consumption by avoiding over buying or buying trending products that do not last long. Instead, buy only things you need, and thrift them instead of buying new products.

  • Save resources
  • Save natural resources such as water, electricity and natural resources such fuel, oil, metals and minerals. If you are at home, unplug the electric product that you are not using. Avoid letting water run for a long time when washing dishes or brushing your teeth.

  • Choose sustainable alternative over single use products
  • Make sustainable and ethical choices that are environmentally friendly. Reuse and recycle items at home for different purposes to ensure that prolong the life cycle of a product.

    No Matter Small or Big, Make a Change

    youth coming together hand in hand
    With the increasing population of youth, issues young people face can be drowned and unheard. Celebrating International Youth Day is an important step in ensuring equality for all humans for the future generations. Speaking up, getting involved and educating ourselves with the issues surrounding youth and finding solutions to these problems are crucial steps one can take. Not only being involved is important but being a responsible citizen by doing one’s part to leave a sustainable Earth and being an ethical consumer is also equally important.

    No matter how small or big the action, it counts! If you are interested in joining the Food System Summit, click here : Food System Summit 2021 for their website! Let’s start by spreading the word to your friends, family and colleagues about International Youth Day!

               
Author: Thiri Zaw Yazawa
Member of Ethical Choice
Started my ethical journey with knowing the truth about pet shops and cafes. Enthusiastic to find interesting ethical products and ideas around the world. Always challenging myself to start small for bigger changes every day because there is no planet B.