2 August 2018

International Youth Day (12 August) dedicated this year to 'Safe Spaces for Youth'

02 August 2018 - This 12 August the critical relevance of youth and its role in sustainable development will be brought forward again within the framework of the International Youth Day. In 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth that 12 August be declared International Youth Day, in order to promote better awareness of the World Programme of Action for Youth, adopted three years before.

Hence, International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August, calling the attention of the international community about youth issues and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society. Actually, the active contribution of youth to foster the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be seen in multiple spaces such as educational institutions, civil society organizations and movements as well as at innovative initiatives at the community level to address pressing challenges.

In that line, a recent Report of the Secretary-General entitled Youth development links to sustainable development (A/72/190) stresses that United Nations Member States must “prioritize and commit adequate resources for the implementation of youth-related policies, including youth participation in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation stages” and also “mainstream the perspectives of youth, in particular marginalized youth groups, into all policies and programmes”.

Worth to highlight the emphasis on participation and perspectives, also reflected in the outcome of the 7th Economic and Social Council Youth Forum held in January: "We must include youth across all levels of policy-making and in all processes". Youth is not a passive actor but instead a key element in development. As said by António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, in his message for this year's International Youth Day, "peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance – all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth". 

The theme of the International Youth Day 2018 is Safe Spaces for Youth. It is a call to ensure the availability of safe and inclusive public spaces for youth so they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves. A toolkit to celebrate this Day has been published and can be seen here. If your institution wants to share ideas about the International Youth Day, is actively promoting it or is organizing any event or initiative around it, let us know e-mailing to academicimpact@un.org