|Adolescents participate in the World Youth Conference in Mexico.|
In proclaiming the International Year of Youth, which runs from 12 August 2010 to 11 August 2011, the United Nations called on governments, civil society, individuals and communities worldwide to support activities for children. Here is a related story.
LEON and MEXICO CITY, Mexico, 30 August 2010 – Forty-five per cent of the world's population – a staggering 3 million people – are under the age of 25.
Last week, the World Youth Conference in Mexico provided a platform for representatives of this vast group to voice their opinions. The sheer number of children and young people make them a distinct focus within the development agenda, said UNICEF Director of Policy and Practice Richard Morgan at the close of the event.
Platforms for change
At a tangent event, the Legislator’s Forum in the Mexico City, Morgan applauded the vitality, drive and passion of young people while drawing attention to the complexity of challenges they face.
|Participants at the World Youth Conference in Mexico.|
“There is little question that trends in the impact of climate change, urbanization, migration and communication technology will affect young people and adults in unique ways,” he said.
The Government of Mexico hosted the Legislator’s Forum in Mexico City from August 25 - August 27 and a Government’s Forum in the city of Leon, with the aim to create a space where representatives from government and civil society organizations could come together to identify action priorities around the youth.
The priorities selected will be addressed by the international community as it works toward meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, a set of internationally recognized targets for reducing poverty worldwide.
Holding governments accountable
At the Government’s Forum in Leon, young people spoke out by declaring their conviction that development in youth leads to development overall.
|UNICEF-supported youth-led initiatives at the World Youth Conference in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico.|
“If we could use the talent we have and invest in our own country and also have the support of organizations backing up the youth agenda, we’ll see development,” said Sergio Luna, 19. “We all have to put in our own efforts and trust our own potentials.”
More than 200 representatives of youth-led non-governmental organizations from 153 countries gathered to advise decision makers on priorities for the global youth development agenda and to hold them accountable for the promises established in the Millennium Declaration, which created the MDG targets in 2000.
In a statement entitled ‘Keep your promises and make them true!’ young representatives highlighted the need to recognize the role of the youth in national economic development plans. They also noted the importance of utilizing the International Year of Youth, which was recently declared by the United Nations, as a bridge to investing at least 5 per cent of future national defence budgets in youth development programmes.
The statement reflected topics including employment, education, health, partnership for development, innovation and technology, international migration, civic and political participation, environmental sustainability and security.
During the conference, UNICEF worked with the Scouts and the Girl Guides, two large non-governmental organizations, to capture the voices of children and young delegates.
Participants had the opportunity to send messages related to MDGs in their respective communities on video and present their ideas on how to achieve the goals. The videos are available on UNICEF’ youth website, www.voicesofyouth.org.
International Year of Youth