For information only - not an official document.
Note to Correspondents             Press Release: Note No. 96
Release Date: 9 August 2000
International Youth Day to Be Observed for First Time on 12 August

NEW YORK, 8 August (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will issue a message marking the first observance of International Youth Day.  The message will be read to the participants of the Model United Nations taking place at Headquarters from 11 to 13 August. 

International Youth Day aims to promote awareness, especially among youth, of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond.  The World Programme of Action calls for action in 10 priority areas:  education, employment, hunger and poverty, health, environment, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, leisure-time activities, girls and young women, and full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and in decision-making.  It also recommends action at national, regional and global levels to implement the Programme.

Youth -- defined by the United Nations as the age group between 15 and 24 years old -- make up one sixth of the world's population.  The majority of these young men and women live in developing countries, and their numbers are expected to rise steeply into the twenty-first century.  

The idea for International Youth Day was proposed in 1991 by the young people who were gathered in Vienna, Austria, for the first session of the World Youth Forum of the United Nations System.  The Forum recommended that an International Youth Day be declared, especially for fund-raising and promotional purposes, to support the United Nations Youth Fund in partnership with youth organizations.  In 1998, a resolution proclaiming 12 August as International Youth Day was adopted by the first session of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, which was hosted by the Government of Portugal in cooperation with the United Nations (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998).  That recommendation was subsequently endorsed by the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/54/120 entitled "Policies and programmes involving youth" (17 December 1999).

For further information, contact Elisabeth Ruzicka-Dempsey, Development and Human Rights Section, Department of Public Information, tel. (212) 963-1742, e-mail:

* * * * *