UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has charged leaders and Governments all over the world to invest in the youths for them to attain their full potentials.
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Guterres, in his message for the 2018 International Youths Day celebrated annually on Aug. 12, said the youth needed safe spaces – both physical and digital – where they could “freely express their views’’ and “pursue their dreams’’.
He said “we must invest so that young people have access to education, training and decent jobs to achieve their full potential.
“The United Nations is strongly committed to listening to the voices of young people and opening pathways for meaningful participation in decisions that affect them’’
The UN Scribe said young people were the hope of the world, announcing a new strategy to be launched in September “to step up our work with and for young people.
“In making the world safe for young people, we make the world better for all.
“I wish all a happy International Youth Day!’’
According to him, the hopes of the world rest on young people.
“Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance and more – today and tomorrow – depends on tapping into the power of youth,’’ he said.
He expressed concern that there were currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world – the largest youth population ever.
Guterres said political instability, labour market challenges and limited space for political and civic participation had led youth to become increasingly more isolated, raising the need for more safe spaces where they could meet, engage and express themselves.
He pointed out that more than 400 million young women and men lived amidst armed conflict or are vulnerable to organised criminal violence.
Moreover, he elaborated that “millions face deprivation, harassment, bullying and other infringements of their rights’’.
He said that safe spaces offer security and dignity while interacting.
“These include civic spaces to engage in governance issues; public spaces to take part in the community activity such as sport and digital spaces to interact virtually across borders.
“It also includes well-planned physical spaces for diverse youth; especially those vulnerable to marginalisation or violence’’.
He noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically Goal 11, emphasises the need for the provision of space towards inclusive and sustainable urbanisation.
In her message for the day, Jayantha Wickramanayake, the UN Youth Envoy, said “young women and girls are particularly vulnerable as are young refugees and migrants, youth living in conflict-prone or humanitarian settings’’.
Events to celebrate International Youth Day 2018 would take place all over the world to promote youth engagement and empowerment.