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August 12, A Day To Celebrate Youth Globally

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“Young people are the leaders of today and tomorrow.”

Today, the world is celebrating International Youth Day to recognize youth’s critical role in making the world a better place. In addition, it is a day to bring attention to issues surrounding today’s youth with ongoing discussions about challenges and hardships youth experience globally.

This year’s theme is ‘Intergenerational solidarity: creating a world for all ages’ intended to spread awareness that every generation in the world needs to act towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs) by 2030.

All those between the ages of 15 and 24 are identified as youth. According to statistics, approximately half the people on Earth are 30 or younger. This number is expected to reach 57% of humans 30 or younger by the end of 2030.

The United Nations General Assembly started efforts to recognize youth globally in 1965, with the first session of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth adopting a resolution which declared August 12 as International Youth Day in 1998. Consequently, International Youth Day was celebrated for the first time on August 12, 2000. The United Nations recommended that International Youth Day should support and promote youth activities, challenges, goals, and achievements.

“On this important day, let’s join hands across generations to break down barriers, and work as one to achieve a more equitable, just and inclusive world for all people,” shared United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The United Nations has shared that in recognition of this day, the world must understand the barriers which exist to intergenerational solidary and ageism which impacts both young and old people. Ageism intersects with other biases, including sexism and racism, which prevents individuals from reaching their full potential. Specifically, the Global Report on Ageism launched by the United Nations in March 2021 outlined that youth continue to experience age-related barriers in various parts of their lives, such as political participation, health and justice, and employment.

The Government of Canada’s response to the pandemic includes the largest-ever investment in young Canadians, totalling $13.1 billion over six years – effectively representing one of the most extensive youth support packages globally.

In August 2021, Canada’s first State of Youth Report was mostly drafted by 13 youths with contributions from about 1,000 youth from various regions of the country. The report included:

  • Information about the issues which impacted youth, including truth and reconciliation.
  • The environment and climate actions.
  • Health and wellness.
  • Leadership and impact.
  • Employment.
  • Innovation, skills and learning.

“Young people are the leaders of today and tomorrow. I know youth have embraced our country’s strength, diversity, and inclusion – and Canada is better for it. They also understand the issues Canada faces and have the innovative solutions we need. Today, we celebrate the endless potential of young people and look forward to what we can achieve by working together,” says Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.