“Young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of today.”
~Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, in an opening dialogue with youth in Jordan
August 12 is International Youth Day, a day to celebrate young people’s energy, imagination and initiatives. The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production.”
This year’s theme is focused on accelerating the 2030 Agenda and has a specific thematic focus on the role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through sustainable consumption and production.
International Youth Day will highlight Goal 12 of the SDGs: responsible consumption and production, which is fundamental to numerous SDGs, relating to poverty eradication, reducing inequalities and supporting economic growth. By honing in on the social development dimensions of sustainable consumption and production, this year’s theme places an emphasis on a cross-sectoral approach to sustainability as well as the vast social, political, economic and environmental interlinkages needed to achieve it.
International Youth Day will further explore how youth continue to provide new ideas and alternatives to development challenges and are active in seeking a renewed vision of consumption and production that is necessary to combat climate change, protect the environment, create decent employment opportunities and build inclusive equitable societies.
Today’s youth make up a quarter of the population. Yet in many parts of the world, young people — especially girls — don’t have access to basic education, reproductive health services and employment opportunities. The Hunger Project knows the importance of youth and their role in ending hunger and poverty. That’s why youth leadership training and education are central to many of our programs.
In Bangladesh, “Youth Ending Hunger Leaders” bring the creativity of young people to the center, meeting in chapters across the country to plan activities to improve their communities with an emphasis on education. In Benin, our youth mobilization strategy focuses on working with thousands of young people on community projects. And, in the United States, we partner with the campus activist group FeelGood to equip college leaders as social entrepreneurs raising money and mobilizing public support for ending hunger and poverty by 2030.
Celebrate International Youth Day by letting your voice be heard: today’s youth will shape our political, economic and social developments in the years to come and their participation is critical. On August 12th, follow along and learn about the importance of youth by searching and using the hashtag #YouthDay.