On 3 February 2015, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon launched #YouthNow campaign commemorating the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) during his opening remarks at the annual Economic and Social Council’s Youth Forum, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
“I am delighted to officially launch the WPAY+20 campaign commemorating the 20th Anniversary, being spearheaded by my Envoy on Youth, Mr Ahmad Alhendawi, and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. I encourage you to actively take part in this campaign; to highlight the importance of youth development at all levels, and to stress its critical place at the core of sustainable development,” said the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
The World Programme of Action for Youth, adopted by the General Assembly in 1995, provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people around the world. 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action on Youth (WPAY+20). The WPAY remains highly relevant and inspirational, but unfortunately implementation lags behind the commitments made.
“The power to create the world we want does not just lie in the hands of officials. You as global citizens, you as young people, have the power to bring about deep and lasting change. You have the power to create the world you want,” said Ban Ki-moon to 600 participants of the ECOSOC Youth Forum.
“#YouthNow aims to inspire actions to further advance youth issues, and stress the importance of accelerated implementation of and renewed commitment to the WPAY,” said Ahmad Alhendawi the UN Envoy on Youth. “This campaign is a great opportunity to raise our voices and make sure that youth policies matter.”
This campaign will also commemorate the landmark agreement’s 20th Anniversary leading up to a Special Session of the General Assembly on 28 May 2015, where the global community gathers to review progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and puts forth an ambitious and achievable vision for Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
#YouthNow is organized by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in partnership with UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs, with support from the Office of President of the 69th session of the General Assembly, and in close collaboration with UN entities, international organizations, and youth organizations. Collaborating UN entities include: UNDP, UNEP, UNAIDS, UNFPA, ILO, UN-HABITAT, UNMC, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women, UNWTO, ITU, GPP and others.
Weekly, in partnership with UN agencies and global stakeholders, #YouthNow will release relevant materials to raise awareness about youth development opportunities and challenges based on the 15 cross-cutting youth priority areas outlined in WPAY including: Education, Employment, Hunger and Poverty, Health, Environment, Full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and in decision making, Youth in conflict, Girls and young women, Armed Conflict, HIV/AIDS, and Information and Communications technology.
With these materials #YouthNow will engage youth around the world to share their vision of a world that includes youth at the centre of political, social and economic decision-making. This call-to-action will leverage grassroots momentum to advocate for investment and the full inclusion of youth in the Sustainable Development process and implementation.
“The sense of ownership is critical for the success of the new development agenda. Let’s see the promise of this year and unleash the power of 1.8 billion youth,” said Alhendawi.
Hazami Barmada, Communications Consultant, Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, United Nations: firstname.lastname@example.org