Celebrating International Youth Day 2022 | Sunday Observer

Celebrating International Youth Day 2022

7 August, 2022

Youth are often regarded as fast, imprudent and short-sighted. Yet, youth were at the forefront during the recent victorious people’s struggle against the Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka. And youth played a major role in bringing Apartheid down in South Africa which was why they declared a National Youth Day of then known as Sowerto Day. The young generation is very important for shaping our world. The current world’s youth population (the age group between 15 and 24 is defined as ‘youth.’) is 1.2 billion, and that number is growing fastest in the poor countries.

Every year the International Youth Day falls on August 12, and this year is also same. This year’s youth day is very important for us because we are facing unprecedented economic and political crisis. So it is appropriate to see why such a day was formed, and what sort of significance of it for the world.

This day was created by the United Nations when they passed a resolution towards creating it in 1999 at the United Nations General Assembly. The date August 12 was chosen by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, and their recommendation was declared by the UN as the International Youth Day.

There are millions of children in the world who are starving and mostly they are teenagers too between the ages of 13 to 19. In terms of education, half the children between the age of six and 13 lack basic reading and math skills. The childhood poverty is also still a prevalent problem globally.

It’s a fact that almost 88 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion youth live in developing countries. Globally, young people account for approximately 24 percent of the working poor and this dynamic is particularly pronounced in Africa, where over 70 percent of youth subsist on US$2 per day or less. In general figures, more than 64 million unemployed youth worldwide and 145 million young workers are living in poverty. Although the youth population is expected to grow, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young women and men remain limited – particularly for those living in economically stagnant rural areas of developing countries.

In this situation, governments around the world face the challenge of providing young people with jobs and opportunities that safeguard their futures. In rural areas, home to 600 million youth, the challenges are particularly complex. Constraints on access to land, natural resources, finance, technology, knowledge, information and education make it difficult for young people to contribute to the rural economy. Few aspire to remain in rural areas and make a living out of agriculture. Too often, their only option is to migrate, either to urban areas or overseas.

So it was for tackling these issues that International Youth Day was created. It is, in fact, an initiative that honors the traits of young people and that acknowledges the challenges that today’s fledging youth face. To support the elimination of these issues it is important that the youth are able to reach the right resources for education, wellbeing, medicine and more.

Theme for 2022

The theme for this year’s International Youth Day is “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages.” According to www.merazone.com, this theme tries to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of UN and no one should be left behind. In brief, it tells us the message that the support of all the people from all the different age group is required so that one day we can achieve these goals and which is create a world without any misery and sufferings - The UN plans to achieve them by 2030.

The Mera Zone website also notes that this theme emphasizes on the need to leverage the full potential of all generations. And for that showing solidarity to each other is a key. “It wants the people to be good with each other especially with those who are not of your age and there is a generation gap between them in that case instead of fighting or ignoring each other we must collaborate to fight together against such social evils.”

A new platform

According to National Today, International Youth Day gives a platform to the voices of the youth. It engages youngsters and aims to take initiatives and actions that will increase opportunities for them. The National Today also says that young people living in developed and developing countries are more prone to facing mental- and social challenges, whereas young people living in underdeveloped countries face extreme problems rooted in a lack of more basic needs such as education, health, and employment.

National Today speaks about how this day is celebrated around the world as well. Following are three types of its celebrations they present:

Attend an International Youth Day event

There are concerts, sporting events, parades, and mobile exhibitions that showcase young people’s achievements. You’ll feel inspired by their talent and entertained at the same time.

Lend a helping hand

The best thing that we can offer children is education. Look into mentorship programs and discover what you can impart to the next generation. There are big brother and big sister programs, music programs, assisting with speech therapy, and more.

Have an intergenerational discussion

Get involved and start a round-table discussion between adults and young people. This can be between parents and children or students and teachers. Come up with topics revolving around the theme of the year and really listen to what the younger generation has to say.

Finally, they summarise the significance of the International Youth Day:

It focuses on building a better world for our children

“International Youth Day does more than simply encouraging children directly. It also lays out a set of priorities to focus on creating tangible improvements in children’s lives. The fifteen priorities created by the UN include areas of focus like reducing cases of HIV/AIDS, fighting childhood hunger, and providing more access to education.”

It raises awareness about poverty

“Many children go to bed hungry each night, or head to school in the morning without a nutritious breakfast to help them stay focused in class. In the United States alone, 13.1 million Children live in food insecure-homes, which means that they and their families don’t have access to enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives. Children in other countries face similar hardships, and many can find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break free from as they grow into adults. The more aware we are of these issues, the faster we can work together to help eradicate them.”

It encourages creative thinking for a better future

“International Youth Day’s list of actionable priorities encourages others to think about specific things they can do to make a tangible difference in kids’ lives. In recent writings about International Youth Day, the UN has put a strong focus on reducing pollution, sustainably using local products and services so they’ll remain available for the next generation and ensuring as many communities as possible will have access to resources. Naming such ambitious — but doable — goals serve as inspiration for all of us to think hard about efficient steps we can take to make them happen.”