NEW YORK – August 12 marked the annual observance of International Youth Day. The United Nations General Assembly approved the 1998 recommendation of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in 1999. The first IYD was held in 2000.
The UN Security Council followed suit, passing Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security.
Each International Youth Day has had a special theme, generally related to the elimination of poverty or abusive situations and an emphasis on inclusion and global peace.
The 2020 theme is Youth Engagement for Global Action. This year, the day “seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.”
Once the sociopolitical gobbledygook is removed from the theme, participants are encouraged to spotlight young people as participants who either are or should be contributing to the challenges of sustainability, peace, and climate change within the context of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 3030.
With only nine-and-a-half years remaining to reach the 17 defined SDGs, it has become obvious to observers and UN staff that the dream of reaching those lofty goals is fading. International Youth Day, therefore, is encouraging local, national, and global entities to make youth more inclusive “for the purpose of strengthening their capacity to achieve global action.”
The International Youth Day program is integrated with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which falls within the Division for Inclusive Social Development. The mandate for the UN World Program for Youth is to
- Enhance awareness of the global situation of youth and increase recognition of the rights and aspirations of youth;
- 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; and
- Strengthen the participation of youth in decision-making processes at all levels in order to increase their impact on national development and international cooperation.
Thousands of organizations and institutions around the globe will offer a wide variety of events to recognize the potential of youth both today and as the leaders of tomorrow.
MBN encourages local churches and faith-based organizations commemorating International Youth Day to emphasize the need for teenagers and young people to develop and embrace a biblical worldview by which they may be able to rightly distinguish between truth and error and to become fully committed to serving the Lord by letting His light shine in the darkness.