As part of efforts of the United Nations to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and pave way for a more peaceful, sustainable and prosperous world, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched a new strategy for young people to lead at the ongoing 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.
Guterres said the new partnership strategy with the world’s 1.8 billion young people would help put “their ideas into action.” He described it as “a rare treat” to see so many young faces at the UN, to launch the new “Youth 2030” strategy and highlighted a list of challenges “the largest young generation in history” faces today.
He noted that “globalization, new technologies, displacement, shrinking civic space, changing labour markets and climate impacts,” were putting huge pressure on youth everywhere. According to him, more than one-fifth of young people are not in employment, education or training; a quarter are affected by violence or armed conflict; and young people remain excluded from development programmes, ignored in peace negotiations and denied a voice in most international decision-making.
He explained that young people were “a vast source of innovation, ideas and solutions,” who push for the needed changes in technology, climate action, inclusivity and societal justice. “Empowering young people, supporting them, and making sure they can fulfil their potential are important ends in themselves,” Guterres said.
The UN Scribe recalls that the organization has for decades worked for the youth and expressed hope that the new strategy would make the UN “a leader” in working with them, “in understanding their needs, in helping to put their ideas into action, in ensuring their views inform our processes.”
Guterres listed five key areas identified by the UN which would spur the young people to lead. They include opening new routes to involve young people and amplify their voices; strengthening the UN’s focus on their accessing education and health services; placing their economic empowerment at the fore of development strategies, with a focus on training and jobs. The two other key areas are working to ensure their rights, and civic and political engagement as well as prioritizing support for young people in conflict and in humanitarian crises, including their participation in peace processes.
By Chris Ajaero