In 1998, the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth recommended the annual celebration of International Youth Day. The following year, International Youth Day was endorsed by the UN Assembly. This commemorative day has been celebrated each year on August 12 ever since.
The Objectives of International Youth Day
The objective of International Youth Day 2022 is to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations. The reason for this is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind. It also raises awareness about certain barriers to intergenerational solidarity. Notably ageism, which impacts young and old persons, is addressed. Agism has detrimental effects on society as a whole.
Ageism and International Youth Day
Ageism is an insidious and often unaddressed issue in health, human rights and development. It has bearings on both older and younger populations around the world. In addition, ageism regularly intersects with other forms of bias (such as racism and sexism). Further, it impacts people in ways that prevent them from reaching their full potential and comprehensively contributing to their community.
The Global Report on Ageism was launched by the United Nations in March 2021. It highlights that despite lack of research, young people continue to report age-related barriers. This occurs in various spheres of their lives such as employment, political participation, health and justice. Further, the report identifies intergenerational interventions as one of the three key strategies to address ageism. Intergenerational activities also lead to a greater sense of social connectedness and strengthen intergenerational solidarity.
Solidarity across generations is key for sustainable development. As the world navigates the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to recognize and address these age-related barriers to “build back better” in a manner that leverages all generations’ strengths and knowledge.
In keeping with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, another year’s theme for International Youth Day was The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production. This focuses on the leading role young people can play in sustainability.
The UN mission statement for this year read: “The development and promotion of individual choices and actions that increase the eco-efficiency of consumption of all and minimize waste and pollution is critical to achieving equitable socioeconomic development.”
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