On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.
The Assembly recommended that public information activities be organized to support the Day as a way to promote better awareness of the World Programme of Action for Youth, adopted by the General Assembly in 1996 (resolution 50/81).
Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security represents an unprecedented acknowledgement of the urgent need to engage young peacebuilders in promoting peace and countering extremism, and clearly positions youth as important partners in the global efforts.
The UNESCO Youth Programme emphasizes in its work that youth are not just beneficiaries, but they are essential leaders and partners in finding solutions to the issues faced by young people in the world today. They must be fully engaged in social development themselves and supported in this work by their societies. In line with its Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021, the UNESCO Youth Programme works to create an enabling environment in which this goal can be achieved, by bringing youth voices to the fore and encouraging young people to take action.
This year’s theme highlights efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves. Rooted in Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” – International Youth Day 2019 will examine how Governments, young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education so that it becomes a powerful tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Youth is a decisive phase in personal development.[…] I call on civil society stakeholders, policymakers and entrepreneurs to imagine new forms of collaboration that are able to harness the vast potential of youth and enable it to express all within it that is unique and promising.”
— Audrey Azoulay, Director General, Message on the occasion of the International Youth Day