Every year on August 12, the world celebrates International Youth Day to raise awareness of youth issues and to recognize young people as active participants in today’s global society. In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth recommendation that 12 August be declared International Youth Day in resolution 54/120. The Assembly recommended that public information activities be organized to support the Day in order to raise awareness of the General Assembly’s 1995 World Programme of Action for Youth (resolution 50/81).
What is the theme for this year?
This year’s International Youth Day aims to spread the message that all generations must work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind. It will also raise awareness about certain barriers to intergenerational solidarity, such as ageism, which affects both young and old people while having a negative impact on society as a whole.
Ageism is a pernicious and frequently unaddressed issue in health, human rights, and development that affects both older and younger populations worldwide. Furthermore, ageism frequently intersects with other forms of bias (such as racism and sexism) and affects people in ways that prevent them from reaching their full potential and contributing fully to their community.
According to the United Nations Global Report on Ageism, which was released in March 2021, despite a lack of research, the youth continue to report encountering age-related obstacles in a variety of spheres of their lives, including areas such as employment and political engagement. It even strecthes to areas like health, and justice, aspects we can take for granted. Intergenerational interventions are also identified as one of the three key strategies to combat ageism in the report. Intergenerational activities can also foster a stronger sense of social connectedness and intergenerational solidarity.
Did you know that?
- Half of the world’s population is 30 or younger, and this figure is expected to rise to 57 percent by the end of 2030.
- According to a survey, 67 percent of people think that things will get better in the future, with 15 to 17-year-olds being the most optimistic.
- Most people concur that there should be a more even distribution of ages in politics. More than two-thirds (69%) of people of all ages agree that more opportunities for younger people to participate in policy development/change would improve political systems.
- Only 2.6 percent of parliamentarians worldwide are under 30 years old, and less than 1% of these young MPs are female.
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world needs to leverage the full potential of all generations. PHOTO: UNFPA Tajikistan
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world must maximize the potential of all generations. Generational unity is crucial for long-term development. To ensure that “no one is left behind,” we must work together to foster successful and equitable intergenerational relationships and partnerships. While intergenerational solidarity and concern for future generations are being advocated for in addressing global issues, with the UN Secretary-General recently releasing new recommendations on renewed intergenerational solidarity, including in Our Common Agenda, many challenges remain.
Ageism remains a significant – but underappreciated – barrier to fostering cross-generational collaboration and solidarity. The World Health Organization describes ageism as “the stereotypes [how we think], prejudice [how we feel], and discrimination [how we act] acted on others or oneself based on age.” Ageism is an evil problem in health, human rights, and development that has a rather understated but real and important impact on both older and younger populations all over the world. Furthermore, ageism frequently intersects with other forms of bias (such as racism and sexism) and affects people in ways that prevent them from reaching their full potential and contributing fully to their community.
A young girl sharing mobile content on her phone with an older woman. PHOTO: UN
The United Nations Global Report on Ageism, which was released in March 2021, highlighted the numerous data gaps concerning ageism against youth. Despite this lack of research, young people continue to report age-related barriers in areas such as employment, political participation, health, and justice. Individually, these age-related barriers can have a significant impact on wellbeing and livelihood not only during the adolescent years, but also in adulthood. On a societal level, ageism prevents us from thinking about and designing policies and social services that take a life-course approach and are equitable for all ages.
Intergenerational interventions are identified as one of three key strategies to address ageism in the Global Report on Ageism. Intergenerational activities can also foster a stronger sense of social connectedness and intergenerational solidarity.
To ensure a broad and lasting recovery, encouraging intergenerational solidarity is more crucial than ever. Generational unity is crucial for long-term development. In order to “build back better” by utilizing the strengths and knowledge of all generations, it is crucial to identify and address these age-related barriers as we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.