International Youth Day being observed today

KATHMANDU: The International Youth Day is being observed around the world and Nepal today by organising various programmes on Wednesday.

In 65 countries, more than half of the population is younger than 24. Yet, for the most part, young people remain excluded from decision-making processes. Although 16 per cent of the world’s population is 20-29 years old, this age group represents only 1.6 per cent of parliamentarians, most of whom are men.

“Denying these young people the right to meaningful participation in decision-making is a gross violation of their human rights and a failure of the democratic process. It is also a waste of human capital that can propel nations towards development”, says Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA in a message on the occasion.

Stating that young people are driving change towards a better future for all in every corner of the world, Dr Osotimehin has said that the world needs their fullest capability and broadest engagement for people, the planet and prosperity to flourish.

August 12 was designated as the International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999. It is an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, as well as an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and hardships facing the world's youth.

The UNFPA Executive Director also says, in the message, that the next 15 years offer a unique opportunity for a demographic dividend that will accelerate conflict-recovery and sustainable economic growth and development in many countries if we empower, support, educate and create employment for young people today. “Young women and men need protection from violence and they have a right to access essential education and health services, including for their sexual and reproductive health. They also have the right to be at the tables where decisions and peace are made”.

To have any chance of succeeding in building a better future for humanity, we must remove the obstacles confronted by young people and invest in their health, well-being, education and livelihoods to unleash and leverage their full potential as global citizens.