This year, we celebrate 21 years of International Youth Day. The 12th of August is a day to reflect on, and highlight issues faced by, youth worldwide and to celebrate their resilience. This year’s theme is: “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.” This theme underscores the importance of getting the youth involved in the global movement to save the planet and through this, to feed its inhabitants sustainably. This is particularly relevant in Africa. Africa is the youngest continent, with almost 60% of its population being under 25. Youth participation in this area in Africa is thus fundamental.
In 1991, the idea for an International Youth Day was proposed by young people who gathered in Vienna for the first session of the World Youth Forum of the UN. The Forum recommended that a youth day be adopted, especially for fundraising and promotional purposes to support the United Nations Youth Fund. In 1999, resolution 54/120 of the General Assembly endorsed a recommendation made by the World Conference that the 12th August be declared International Youth Day.
UN Resolution 2250 was the first international policy framework to recognize the positive role young people can play in peace, security and countering extremism.