“Youth are leading the fight to build a better future for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that it is urgent to achieve the type of transformational change that youth aspire to, and youth must be fully associated in that effort” says António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations in his message for this year’s International Youth Day.
In 1999, the UN General Assembly declared August 12 as International Youth Day, following the recommendations of the World Conference of Youth Ministers, held in Lisbon, Portugal, from August 8 to 12, 1998, with the aim of drawing the attention of the international community to the problems of youth and to help develop the potential of young people as partners in today’s society.
There are some basic issues of concern in the youth sphere: participation, development and peace, to which are added health, education, food and work, derived from the situation the world is going through due to the pandemic. In this regard, the Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, expressed on the occasion of this date: “Youth can be a brilliant period, marked by encounters, first commitments and new horizons, but it can also be an unstable age and vulnerable. The pandemic crisis is a stark reminder of that reality. According to the International Labor Organization, young people have been the most affected by job losses after women, as their employment rate decreased by 8.7% in 2020, while in the case of those older than 24 years that decrease was 3.7%. In both mental health and education, the COVID-19 crisis has been a youth crisis, and its repercussions threaten to drag on for many years. Therefore, we have a responsibility to act in favor of these young people, who carry the future of the world within them”.