As we had said in a previous post, the world has changed a lot in the last few decades. The population structure is changing and the most significant change is perhaps that we now have the largest generation ever of young people inhabiting our planet earth today. There are 1.8 billion young people in the world today, and a whopping 50% of the world’s population is under the age of 35. Many of these young people continue to bear the major burden of poverty and unemployment within their various communities. Meaningful involvement and participation in the main stream affairs of their communities and countries continues to elude them. If over 50% of the world’s population continues to remain inadequately supported to become meaningful members of their societies, the world’s hope of achieving sustainable development will continue to be an unattainable aspiration.
The theme for this year's International Youth Day, The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production, reflects the need to secure the future of young people around the world as they are key to achieving a poverty free world. This year's day is about achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Sustainable consumption is an umbrella term that brings together a number of key issues, such as meeting needs, enhancing the quality of life, improving resource efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy sources, minimizing waste, taking a life cycle perspective and taking into account the equity dimension. The promotion of choices that increase the Eco-efficiency of consumption and minimize waste and pollution is critical to achieving equitable socioeconomic development.
We echo the words of Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Envoy on Youth. He said: "I invite governments, foundations, civil society organizations, and the youth movement to mark the day by highlighting the positive contributions of youth in development and by pledging to engage with youth as partners in the implementation of the SDGs.”
The time has indeed come to recognize the immense contributions young people are making to global development and to invest more meaningfully in systems and structures that will ensure that more and more young people everywhere are supported, empowered and provided with the means to social and economic independence, a condition so vital for their continued contribution. Let’s join hands and do what needs to be done. Let’s celebrate young people all over the world. Happy International Youth Day!