“Tackling Poverty Together: Young People and the Eradication of Poverty”
Information on the number of young people who live in poverty is scarce, though estimates indicate that almost one in five young people (18 per cent of the 1,158 million 15 to 24 year olds worldwide) survive on less than US$ 1 per day, while as many as 45 per cent live on less than US$ 2 per day. These numbers take on significance when you consider the many dimensions of poverty: hunger and malnutrition; lack of access to education and other basic services; an increase in disease and illness, homelessness or inadequate housing; unsafe environments, and a lack of participation in decision-making and socio-cultural life.
The World Programme of Action for Youth gives practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people. It recognizes hunger and poverty among young people as a priority concern.
International Youth Day 2006 presents an opportunity to invite all stakeholders to tackle poverty together by ensuring that young people receive the attention they deserve in global, national and local efforts to eradicate poverty.
Facts about young people and poverty
The World Youth Report 2005 states that:
- It is estimated that there are some 209 million young people living on less than US$ 1 a day and around 515 million young people living on less than US$ 2 a day.
- While the income poverty lines of US$ 1 and US$ 2 a day are useful for drawing international comparisons, national poverty measures are much more useful for targeting intra-country poverty reduction efforts.
- Poverty is best understood as various forms of “unfreedom” that prevent people from realizing and expanding their capabilities.
- At the center of youth poverty is the need to address widespread youth unemployment. Young people aged between 15 and 24 are a quarter of the world’s working population but they make up half its unemployed. National youth policies must target both increased employment opportunities for young people and their improved employability.
- Youth may be disproportionately susceptible to poverty in comparison with other age groups, primarily because of the fluid nature of the challenges and opportunities they face during the transition to adulthood, particularly in relation to the labour market.
- The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set forth a global agenda to end poverty. Around 51 per cent of the combined population of developing and least developed countries are below the age of 25, and 20 per cent are 15 to 24 years of age. It is clear, given such age demographics, that if the specific needs of young people are not identified and addressed, the MDGs will not be met.
- Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) or Frameworks to Achieve the MDGs are often key efforts to combat poverty. However, young people are rarely consulted in meaningful ways during the creation of these strategies nor identified as a major group experiencing poverty. Few of the action plans link youth-focused strategies to specific targets and budget outlays or regard the youth situation as a major cross-cutting issue in the PRSPs.
- It is important to identify young people as a distinct group experiencing poverty with special needs and considerations. Young people in poverty will likely not be given the attention they deserve in national poverty reduction strategies until their situation is formally acknowledged, they are consulted, and data are available on the nature and extent of their vulnerabilities.
- Interventions in the areas of education, health and employment can break the poverty cycle; without such interventions, poverty tends to deepen with age and over successive generations.
- Young people make up a significant proportion of the population in developing countries and, on grounds of equity alone, should constitute the focus for a significant proportion of national and global anti-poverty investments.
- Globalization has an economic, social and cultural impact on all sectors of society. Poverty cannot be analyzed without taking into account the effects of the growing interconnectedness and interaction within and between countries and regions. About 2 billion people are not benefiting from globalization, especially in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, Western Asia, and the former Soviet Union.
- Extreme poverty and malnutrition make some youth vulnerable to disease, and it also contributes to an increase in the risk of HIV transmission.
- Read more to understand the complexities of youth poverty and how it can be reduced in the World Youth Report 2005 >>.
How you can commemorate International Youth Day 2006
Team up! Create a TPT team in your own community. It is a great opportunity to rally support and get key actors involved – Governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, businesses, and youth. Young people should be especially encouraged to participate in efforts to reduce youth poverty and celebrate the day.International Youth Day is a great opportunity to rally support and get key actors involved in the issue of poverty and young people. Governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, businesses, municipal authorities – everyone has a role to play in marking the day! Find out what youth organizations exist in your community or if your National Youth Council or similar structure is marking the day.
Organize! Hold forums, public discussions and campaigns to find out more about how poverty affects young people in your community. Research and evaluate what has been done successfully to reduce youth poverty in other communities. Often International Youth Day can be used to raise awareness about issues that are important to youth through media campaigns that target newspapers, radio and the Internet. The press and the media are important partners that can greatly increase public awareness of youth poverty and related issues.
Take action! A major benefit to International Youth Day is that it can often lead to new partnerships and practical action to further support the participation of young people in the processes and decisions that affect their lives. You may wish to determine who could support and cooperate to address issues of concern to young people in your community.
Celebrate! Plan and organize performances to showcase – and celebrate – the fact that youth make valuable and positive contributions to the societies in which they live. Convene community meetings and events focusing on the varied skills, interests, and aspirations of young people. Invite Government and local UN officials, community and business leaders to participate in your event. Enjoy International Youth Day 2006!
What is happening around the world to mark the day*
Email us your plans and ideas on how you will commemorate International Youth Day in your country: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Austria: To mark IYD2006, the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna is inviting a group of unaccompanied young refugees and asylum seekers living in Austria to visit the United Nations Headquarters at the Vienna International Centre (VIC). The group of 20 young refugees hail from Chechnya, Guinea, Nigeria, and the Republic of Moldova and are are staying at the two clearing centres for unaccompanied minors run by the Austrian NGO, SOS Menschenrechte (Human Rights). Activities for the Day at the Centre include meeting UN officials, a guided tour of the UN and the screening of a film on the UN. For more information, please contact email@example.com and see http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/pressrels/2006/unisvic146.html.
- Bangladesh: The UN Information Center in Dhaka will coordinate activities for IYD2006 along with UN Volunteers and national youth organizations in cooperation with the local Government. Leading up to the Day, a UN quiz contest on the MDGs, as well as a training programme on the MDGs and volunteerism will be organized for students and teachers. On 12 August, activities will include a blood donation camp, a visit to CRP & Drug Addict Cure Centre, a football match, a human chain, a tree plantation, and a seminar and cultural programme. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cameroon: The United Nations Information Centre for Cameroon, Central African Republic & Gabon will organise an Educational Outreach Event with Youth Leaders on Thursday 10 August 2006 based on this year’s theme “Tackling Poverty Together: Young People and the Eradication of Poverty”, and will share information about the United Nations’ efforts in helping youth fight against Poverty. The World Youth Report 2005, which evaluates the 10-year old World Programme of Action for Youth, will also be discussed and distributed to participants. It provides a global update on hunger and poverty amongst other youth priority areas including education, employment, girls and young Women, and youth participation in decision-making. Participants will include representatives of Government, the UN System and young people. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
2. In Bamenda, North West Province of Cameroon, an NGO will conduct a competition to commemorate IYD2006, in which young people will write on youth, poverty and unemployment. Submissions could be poems, short stories, life experiences, essays or sketches. Radio talk shows will be aired on IYD and UN Youth Development Programmes. A live radio panel discussion will be aired on HOT COCOA Radio on Youth and Tackling Poverty Together. On 12 August, the YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES GUIDE publication project will be launched. IYD2006 celebrations will extend until 19 August when the Youth Opportunities Workshop will be held for youth leaders, unemployed youth and others. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Canada: On August 12, several local government agencies and NGOs in Terrace, Northwestern British Columbia, will work together to celebrate and acknowledge youth, and to have a positive and fun International Youth Day! A community youth bike ride will be held through the downtown area and will include training on appropriate bike safety, the rules of the road, and how to prevent bike theft. This will be followed by a fund-raising barbecue meal to raise money for a new free bike-exchange program. The Day’s programme will end with a variety of events including a dance and a youth safety evening. For more information on these events, please feel free to contact email@example.com.
- Egypt: The UN Information Center in Cairo in cooperation with the Arab Youth Council for Development and the Youth and Sports Department at the League of Arab States are organizing a joint event, which will include a three-day forum, to be held under the theme: Empowering Youth into Positive Action. A second event in cooperation with the Future Girls for Development Association, the National Council for Youth and the Ministry of Social Solidarity to take place from 8 to 12 August. The Minister of Planning and Local Development, the President of the National Council for Youth, Minister of Social Solidarity and the Minister of Housing will attend. The event will also include four workshops on unemployment, HIV/AIDS, electronic illiteracy and drug abuse. On 12 August, a peace march will be organized in the city of Alexandria under the theme: Youth Peace and Voluntarism under the auspices of the Governor of Alexandria. For more information, please contact, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ethiopia: In Addis Ababa, the Economic Commission for Africa will commemorate IYD2006 along with local youth organizations. They will organize an exhibition and presentation on youth activities in poverty reduction efforts in Ethiopia, as well as a cultural display prepared by Ethiopian youth. The Day will also be used to announce the African Development Forum on Youth V on the theme Youth for Leadership in the 21st century. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
- Fiji: The Ministry of Youth, Employment Opportunities and Sports will organize and sponsor week-long IYD2006 activities throughout the country. Ceremonies will be presided by high-level Government officials, as well as local administrators. Activities include sports and competitions, prayer ceremonies, agricultural shows, career and employment exhibitions and cultural performances. Empowerment workshops will be conducted for young people by the Police Department on drug abuse, alcohol, crime prevention; by the Health Department on safe sex, diarrhoea, typhoid, and teenage pregnancy; and by the Agriculture Department in farm management and planting plans. For more information, please visit http://www.youth.gov.fj or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- India: In Kolkata, the State Central Library and The Young Explorers’ Institute for Social Service will organize a joint programme to observe IYD2006 at an event to be held at the Jadavpur University campus. The programme will highlight the role of libraries in youth development. Commemoration activities will also include an artistic performance, an exhibition of print materials, a debate, and poster and slogan competitions. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
- Italy: In Palermo, from 1 to 12 August, young people will participate in activities that include a bus tour of the city and a discussion with experts and public administrators on public services, especially resources and public spaces available for leisure time-activities for young people. A youth-to-youth international exchange and discussion on youth participation will include young people from Latvia, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. Young film directors will showcase short films to Government officials, experts and other youth. The event will end with a performance celebrating the music, dance and theatre of young people. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kenya: A forum between youth and policy makers will be organized on IYD2006. Young people will show case their work and engage with policy makers on issues affecting their lives. The forum will conclude with the commencement of the 2nd Human Rights Youth Camp, which will continue for the next three days. Participants will further engage in the IYD agenda and other human rights issues. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
- Korea: The 41st International Youth Camp (IYC), organized by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO and supported by the National Youth Commission of the Republic of Korea, will be held from 3-13 August 2006 at the Korea UNESCO Peace Center in Icheon, Korea. Under the theme of “Challenge Today, Change Tomorrow,” 105 young people from 26 different countries will gather to participate in various programmes such as workshops, action projects, international cultural nights, and field studies as well as to celebrate International Youth Day on 12 August 2006. Emphasizing this year’s IYD theme, ‘Tackling Poverty Together,’ IYC participants will discuss the issues related to the Millennium Development Goals. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mauritius: The National Youth Council of Mauritius is organizing a National Youth Forum that includes a Voice of Youth project, which would bring messages from young people to Government officials. Also included in the Forum is a debate, a writing competition on Tackling Poverty Together, the launching of Youth Journal, as well as an exhibition that includes performances, music and poetry recitals. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
- Nepal: A youth rally will be held in Biratnagar followed by a street play and poetry competition. Representatives from the Government, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, businesses and youth from various sectors are expected to attend. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Niger: In collaboration with UNICEF, an NGO will organize a youth camp from 5 to 12 August. At the camp, workshops will be held on the MDGs, HIV/AIDS, leadership development, project management and sports activities. Over 30 young leaders from nine national youth organizations are expected to attend the camp. The camp will end on 12 August with a declaration by young people, addressed to politicians, to consider them as partners in the struggle to reduce poverty. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
- Nigeria: 1. The Kano State Government, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs – Youth Development & Special Duties, is hosting youth from around the country in an event to mark IYD2006. The event will be coordinated by the National Youth Council of Nigeria and voluntary youth organizations. Funds for Youth in Agriculture will be the highpoint of this year’s IYD celebration to encourage youth development and agricultural practice among youth. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. From 7-11 August, a workshop will be held to provide a platform for youth active in the community. The event will include presentations by youth experts and Government officials, a sharing of experiences by young people who have successfully made positive impact in the community, discussions on youth and volunteerism, a “tackling poverty” brainstorming session, and performances. The conclusion celebrations will be held on 12 August. For more information, contact email@example.com.
3. A one day seminar on Youth Empowerment for the Eradication of Poverty will be organized at the Rendezvous Hall, Olatunji House, 299 Ikorodu Road, Idiroko, Maryland Lagos, Nigeria on Thursday, 17 August. For more information on the seminar, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Norway: A major newspaper in Norway, Aftenposten, will provide a page where young people between the ages of 13 and 18 can speak about their lives and present their own opinions, thoughts, dreams, concerns, etc. The opportunity is open youth from all over the world. Young people are encouraged to discuss a day in their lives. The contributions can include images and should be no more than 800 words, which will be translated into Norwegian. For more information, or to send your submission, please contact email@example.com, ASAP, AND BEFORE AUGUST 9.
- Pakistan: To celebrate the IYD2006, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is organizing a function for youth at the YMCA, Aiwan-e-Saddar Road, Karachi. Young people will participate in creating posters and other art forms, essays, poems, musical performances, docu-dramas and plays. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Philippines: The United Nations Association of the Philippines with the cooperation of United Nations Volunteers and UNDP will organize the events of IYD2006, along with the Youth Federation for World Peace. Over 300 national participants and 200 foreign delegates are expected to attend the 3-day event. Activites will include a leadership conference and an international youth expo to showcase youth initiatives and service programmes for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Also included in the event will be youth award ceremonies, cultural performances and a concert. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
- Tanzania: 1. The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Youth Development in collaboration with UNICEF and World Vision will commemorate IYD2006 in the Morongo Region. The Minister of Youth Employment and Youth Development will address the public on 12 August to promote youth issues, and call for the support of youth in finding decent and productive work. The IYD event will include Government officials, civil society, as well as 400 youth representatives from Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Iringa, Dodoma and coastal regions. The event will be preceded by discussions hosted by youth organizations and will focus on education, youth employment, HIV/AIDS, youth in extreme poverty. It will also include a community clean up. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. In Zanzibar, the Ministry for Labour, Youth, Children and Women Development through its Department of Youth Development, in collaboration with other local youth organizations and UNICEF, will conduct a Youth Symposium. It will include a discussion on topics such as HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, national youth policy, Zanzibar’s poverty reduction strategies and other aspects of youth development. There will also be a youth exhibition on economic and social welfare activities, a public meeting for young people from five regions of Zanzibar, as well as a night of traditional music and the launching of a Youth Entrepreneurship Fund. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
3. A symposium will be held at New Africa Hotel, Dar es Salaam, where over 200 young people from Tanzania are expected to join others from around the world in a public dialogue. They will discuss environmental policy, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, poverty eradication, health issues, as well as access to resources among youth, under the theme of “Tackling Poverty Together for Sustainable Development”. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- United Kingdom: To commemorate the Day, young people will connect across the world and advocate for their needs through a national and global politics creative art exhibition “Shoot Nations”. Participants are invited to submit five photographs, drawings, or cartoons. There will prizes for best submissions, and a launch party on International Youth Day, as well as an exhibition of the photographs in a gallery Hackney, London, for all those who can attend. For more information, please email: email@example.com.
- United States: New York City will observe the day with a series of basketball tournaments and other activities coordinated by “Directions for Our Youth”, a citywide youth service and advocacy organization dedicated to empowering and educating young people from every neighbourhood and nation. For more information, please visit: http://www.dfoy.org.
- Uzbekistan: To commemorate IYD2006, the UN Office in Uzbekistan launched an Internet campaign dedicated to youth issues at http://you.doda.uz. Here young people can exchange ideas and suggestions on organizing IYD2006 in Uzbekistan, discuss current problems and share views on their role in achieving the MDGs. They can also take part in several contests, as well as vote to select the winners. On 12 August in Tashkent city, participants from the Internet campaign, representatives of youth organizations and UN agencies will join in a discussion on the MDGs. The event will be followed by an awards ceremony of winners of the online competitions and “Talent Show” featuring sketches, dances and songs prepared by young people on the occasion of IYD2006. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Zambia: In the Copperbelt Province, an Inter-Company Fun Run will be organized, which will bring young people and stakeholders from schools, the corporate sector, Government institutions and faith-based organizations. The Day will also be used to sensitize the young people on how best they can participate in reducing the high level of poverty in their communities and in addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic. For more information: email@example.com.
- Zimbabwe: The UN Information Center in Harare will commemorate International Youth Day in partnership with the Zimbabwe Youth Council and the Ministry of Youth Development and Employment Creation. A Southern African Youth Festival will be organized to coincide with the Day. The Festival will run from 10-14 August and will be held in the resort town of Victoria Falls. Participants in this festival will include representatives of National Youth Councils, Youth Associations, and youth leaders from 14 countries in the Africa sub-region. For more information, please contact Tafadzwa@unic.co.zw.
- UNESCO: In celebration of IYD2006, UNESCO has affirmed the week of August 14-18 as Acting with and for Youth. The Section for Youth at UNESCO has organized activities including a photo-exhibition and roundtables on Youth Involvement in Fighting Poverty, where UNESCO officials and young people will discuss best practices for working with youth in poverty eradication projects, and Youth and World Heritage to discuss youth involvement in natural world heritage conservation. UNESCO field offices around the world will also commemorate IYD2006. The UNESCO Ramallah office will organize an artistic recreational programme involving nearly 600 young people from the West Bank and Gaza Strip through drawing, choreography, singing, and theatre. This project hopes to provide an artistic outlet for young people to express their views and feelings with regard to this year’s IYD theme “Tackling Poverty Together”. To find out more, contact UNESCO Ramallah at firstname.lastname@example.org. In Jordan, UNESCO’s field office in Amman is working with the Ministry of Education to implement various seminars related to IYD2006 and youth during the school year 2006-2007. UNESCO Amman’s contact information is: email@example.com. For more information on IYD2006 events at UNESCO Headquarters and around the world, please visit UNESCO’s Acting with and for youth page. .
What is happening at UN Headquarters to mark the day?
This year International Youth Day will be marked at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday, 11 August 2006 in partnership with the International Branch of the New York City YMCAs. The event will include opening remarks, including the Secretary-General’s message for International Youth Day 2006, as well as performances, poetry readings, a panel discussion and youth testimonials on poverty.
For more information on the observance of International Youth Day at UN Headquarters in New York, please see the Programme for the event.
Some current initiatives addressing youth poverty
Beyond International Youth Day 2006, there are several ongoing international efforts working to address youth poverty:
- Tackling Poverty Together Project: This project is jointly undertaken with the National Council of Swedish Youth Organizations (LSU). It aims to strengthen the role of young people in poverty reduction strategies by providing a supportive framework for local and national action. The UN Programme on Youth and its partners of the Tackling Poverty Together project are working towards the continuation and expansion of this work.
- Youth and the Millennium Development Goals: Eradicating poverty is at the heart of the MDGs and young people are very engaged in supporting the achievement of the goals. There are far-reaching campaigns underway; critical reports being published, innovative solutions being tested, and more!
- The Youth Employment Network (YEN): The YEN was created under the impetus of the Millennium Declaration, where the largest gathering of Heads of State and Government ever met at the Millennium Summit in September 2000 and resolved to ” develop and implement strategies that give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work.” It has expanded to bece a peer exchange, support, and review mechanism to support the development and implementation of national youth employment strategies.