A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

International Youth Day - August 12

International Youth Day
The United Nations has long recognized that the imagination, ideals and energies of young women and men are vital for the continuing development of the societies in which they live. In 1985 the UN General Assembly observed the International Youth Year:
: Participation, Development and Peace. It drew international attention to the important role young people play in the world, and, in particular, their potential contribution to development and the goals of the United Nations Charter.

Every year after that, the International Youth Day has been celebrated to:
1. Enhance awareness of the global situation of youth and increase recognition of the rights and aspirations of youth
2. Promote national youth policies, national youth coordinating mechanisms and national youth programs of action as integral parts of social and economic development, in cooperation with both governmental and non-governmental organizations
3. Strengthen the participation of youth in decision-making processes at all levels in order to increase their impact on national development and international cooperation.

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The Youth of the World
International Youth Day is a day to stand out and be counted as passionate and energetic youth that are creating a better world for all. It’s an opportunity to remind key decision-makers and influential persons of the key role young global citizens play in affecting global change. International Youth Day is a day for the youth of the world to approach and rally support from governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, businesses, and other young people to strengthen your ability to tackle poverty together. IYD is a day to take practical action to further encourage the empowerment of youth in their communities.

Some of the issues that the youth of today faces and needs to address are:
• Education
• Employment
• Hunger and Poverty
• Health
• Environment
• Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug use

All these and more are a constant growing concern for the youth of the world and is what NGOs the world over are trying to improve on.

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Taking Part
Celebrating International Youth Day is an opportunity to tackle issues and bring into light the problems our youth faces in today’s world. The world over students and NGOs plan some sort of activity which focuses on various aspects of this crisis which in turn leads to better decision. Some of the ways in which you can celebrate International Youth Day are:

• Team up! It is a great opportunity to rally support and get key actors involved - Governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, businesses, and young people - to focus on what has been done to further the cause
• Organize! Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of young people focusing on youth issues and how they can be addressed.
• Celebrate! Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase - and celebrate – the fact that youth contribute to the societies in which they live. Convene exchanges and dialogues focusing on the rich and varied skills, interests and aspirations of young people.
• Take action! A major focus of the Day is practical action to further encourage the empowerment and participation of youth in the processes and decisions that affect their lives.
• Media! The media especially has an important role to play in support of the observance of the Day to promote public awareness of youth issues and to run programs that reflect on them.

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International Youth Day in Pakistan
In a third world country where avenues are available less and less, and inadequate facilities do not nurture or groom the youth of today, many adverse effects on the society are visible. The main concern about the youth population is their inclination towards activities which do not help in building their character. Since the youth has been deprived of opportunities and lack awareness, they tend to shift away from their aims and objectives. In Pakistan however International Youth Day is celebrated but on a rather mute note.
Youth day is an opportunity for governments and others to draw attention toward youth issues worldwide. Concerts, workshops, cultural events and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations would take place around the world.

Other activities include seminars promoting the world's youth, as well as various sporting events, parades and mobile exhibitions that showcase young people's achievements. IYD is aimed to recognize efforts of the world's youth in enhancing global society and promote ways to engage them in becoming more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities. The UN defines the worlds' youth as the age group between 15 and 24 years old, making up one-sixth of the human population.

The idea for International Youth Day was proposed in 1991 by young people who were gathered in Vienna, Austria, for the first session of the UN's World Youth Forum. The forum recommended that an International Youth Day be declared, especially for fundraising and promotional purposes, to support the United Nations Youth Fund in partnership with youth organizations.

The other activities to be carried out on this special day include tree plantation and an exhibition to recognize youth participation in sustainable development of the country.

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Situation in Pakistan
It is a great tragedy that the vast amounts of youth energies have never been put to proper use. They have not been given any participation in any sphere of life. They have never made partners in the development of the country. Young people are experiencing isolation, vulnerability, powerlessness and idleness.

Their disadvantages derive them from lack of access to interrelated dimensions, such as:
• Economic (assets leading to income generation).
• Social (access to information, social capital, free-time activities, cultural expression, educational opportunities, care and mentoring in youth friendly venues).
• Participation in decision making (empowerment, governance).

On this basis, it appears that youth inclusion policies would be more effective if these different dimensions are combined, rather than having fragmented sectoral interventions. Institutional neglect and cultural biases constitute major barriers that prevent youth access to the above-indicated assets.
The youth of Pakistan are caught in a multitude of problems like unemployment, poverty, remorselessness, social taboos, drugs, guns and politics. It is unfortunate that the youth are trapped in a culture marked by guns, violence and drugs. All this has resulted in an unstable economy, a shattered confidence of foreign investors, lawlessness and a break-up of the social fabric.

The costs of neglecting youth can be measured in terms of increasing incidences of crimes, terrorist activities and depletion of human and social capital. There is a loss of economic growth possibilities, which will only increase as this large cohort ages and is without experience in the work force.

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Lack of engagement and lack of connection makes it less likely that young people will contribute and become self-sufficient adults. This is threatening our progress. Therefore in order to ensure a good future in Pakistan, it is absolutely vital that the role of the youth population be enhanced and they should be given more opportunities which will help them to grow as great individuals who support the country rather than hinder its growth.

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