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Youth2030: UN chief launches bold new strategy for young people ‘to lead’

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres launched a new partnership strategy with the world’s 1.8 billion young people on September 24, to help put “their ideas into action”.

He noted that “globalization, new technologies, displacement, shrinking civic space, changing labour markets and climate impacts,” were putting massive pressure on youth everywhere. Mr. Guterres stressed that more than one-fifth of young people are not in employment, education or training; a quarter are affected by violence or armed conflict; and young people remain excluded from development programmes, ignored in peace negotiations and denied a voice in most international decision-making.

The Secretary-General highlighted at the same time that young people were “a vast source of innovation, ideas and solutions,” who push for the needed changes in technology, climate action, inclusivity and societal justice.

Moreover, he recognised a crucial role young people play in fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for a more peaceful, sustainable and prosperous world.

Mr. Guterres expressed hopes that the UN would become a leader in working with the youth, in recognising their needs, assisting them to realise their ideas and guaranteeing their views inform the processes in the UN.

The following five areas have been identified to become prioritised in spurring partnerships for working with youth:

  1. Opening new routes to involve young people and amplify their voices.
  2. Strengthening the UN’s focus on their accessing education and health services.
  3. Placing their economic empowerment at the fore of development strategies, with a focus on training and jobs.
  4. Working to ensure their rights, and civic and political engagement.
  5. Prioritizing support for young people in conflict and in humanitarian crises, including their participation in peace processes.

“Today is the start of a new era for young people at the United Nations,” he said, inviting everyone to act to move it forward. He called upon Member States to invest in and empower youth nationally; challenged businesses to provide young people with skills and opportunities; and encouraged civil society to speak out and keep up the pressure.

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