The UN Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the event “Youth2030” to launch the United Nations youth strategy and “Generation Unlimited” partnership, in New York on Monday.
“Our world today is very young; home to 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 – the largest young generation in history,” he said, adding that today’s young people face enormous challenges due to globalization, new technologies, displacement, shrinking civic space, changing labor markets and the impact of climate change.
More than one fifth of young people are not in employment, education or training. At least one in four is affected by violence or armed conflict in some way. Millions of girls become mothers while they are still children, affecting their health and entrenching a cycle of poverty. And too often, young people are excluded by development programs, ignored in peace negotiations and denied a voice and a seat at the table.
At the same time, Guterres said, young people are a vast source of innovation, ideas and solutions. They are pushing strongly for the changes we need in the technology arena, in climate action, and in calling for inclusive and just societies. Empowering young people, supporting them, and making sure they can fulfill their potential are important ends in themselves. “We want this for all people, everywhere,” Guterres suggested.
“But more than this, if we are to create a more peaceful, sustainable and prosperous world for all to fulfill the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we need young people to lead. That is why today, I am delighted to launch Youth2030 — the UN’s strategy to engage with, but especially to empower, young people,” Guterres said.
Generation Unlimited is a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to ensure all young people are in school, training or employment by 2030. It will focus on skills for learning, employment and empowerment, especially for girls. Young people will be central to every aspect of this initiative.
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