Countries and youth organizations around the world are beginning preparations for the upcoming International Year of Youth.
The General Assembly recently proclaimed that the Year will run from 12 August 2010 – 11 August 2011.
The theme of the year is “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding,” in an effort to “encourage communication across generations and promote the ideals of peace, freedom, progress, solidarity and dedication to the objectives and goals of progress and development, including the Millennium Development Goals.”
Nicola Shepherd from the UN Programme on Youth in DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development said that the year presented young people with the opportunity to “advocate for much-needed investment in youth and to create networks among youth organizations around the world”.
“We encourage young people at all levels to use this opportunity to organize events and have their voices heard,” Ms. Shepherd said.
“Governments, civil society including youth-led organizations, as well as individual young people can draw on this Year’s theme to work towards enhancing inter-cultural and inter-generational dialogue,” she said.
Ms. Shepherd said that the year 2010 marked the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY).
“[WPAY was] a landmark resolution which provided a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people, related to 15 priority areas for youth development, ranging from employment and globalization to HIV/AIDS and participation of youth in decision making.”
“We hope that the International Year of Youth will revitalize the international commitment to the WPAY and encourage governments create national youth policies where they do not yet exist, or to implement the policies where they already exist.”
A number of youth-related international events have already been planned during the year including the 5th World Youth Congress on Youth and Development to be held in Turkey, the very first Youth Olympic Games to be held in Singapore and the World Youth Conference to be held in Mexico.