In 1999, the UN General Assembly (RES 54/120) endorsed «the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers of Youth (…) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day». The establishment of that important day was remarkable as it spotlighted the central role of young people in the public sphere and in regards to contemporary issues that our societies are struggling in.
21 years later, we can see how important and relevant this establishment was. Indeed, throughout the years, the youth involvement in the fields of climate action, gender equality, social justice, peace and security and other important subjects for Global Human Rights has been remarkable and essential. Young people have eagerly contributed to a world respectful towards human rights and UN values, creating opportunities and hope for those who are in vulnerable conditions. We can observe the increased youth participation in the UN system, in the Council of Europe, the European Union and other democratic structures, and their unique contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, where they «have been active architects in its development and continue to be engaged in the frameworks and processes that support its implementation, follow-up and review».
The International Youth Day is not only a day to celebrate but also to reinforce the commitment of member states to actively involve and consider young people in their decisions. For example, the theme of this year’s Youth Day is «Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health». This theme was raised also during the 2021 ECOSOC Youth Forum, where thousands of youth people actively participated and «the issues and priorities highlighted included their views on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic particularly related to its effect on human health, the environment, and food systems».
This global issue can only be tackled with young people being an active part of the solution. That is why in the Forum’s official outcome recommendations state that: «young participants stressed the importance of working towards more equitable food systems. In addition, they highlighted the need for youth to make informed decisions on food choices through increasing global education on the healthiest and most sustainable options for both individuals and the environment».
The World Esperanto Youth Organization (TEJO), as a global youth organization, has developed throughout the years a central role in the international field of youths rights, especially in relation to culture and languages, where young people actively participate and are empowered to contribute with their ideas and their actions. On this International Youth Day, TEJO, in partnership with the Universal Esperanto Association (UEA), thanks all the young people who have contributed to our mission and the unique message of our movement and we promise to continue fighting for youth rights, our rights, on the global level.