For information only - not an official document.
Please check against delivery Press Release No: UNIS/SG/2629
Release Date:   9 August 2000
“Let Us Resolve to Consolidate Our Partnerships With Youth on Every Front”,
Secretary-General Urges in International Youth Day Message

NEW YORK, 8 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message for International Youth Day, which is celebrated on 12 August:

International Youth Day is in itself a very young phenomenon.  The very idea to create an international day for youth was proposed by young people at the first session of the World Youth Forum of the United Nations System.  It was proclaimed as a United Nations observance by the General Assembly only last year.

On this day, we promote awareness of the landmark World Programme of Action for Youth, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1995.  The Programme seeks to make governments more responsive to the aspirations of youth for a better world, as well as to the demands of youth to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.  It came about because young people understood that, to deal effectively with the impact of globalization on their lives, they must start preparing for the future now and not wait for governments to tell them what to do. 

The Programme covers 10 priority areas for action, ranging from education, employment and poverty to health, the environment and drug abuse.  In each of these areas, the Programme looks in depth at the nature of the challenges and presents proposals for action.  I would urge Governments to take its recommendations seriously, and to work together with young people for its implementation. 

Effective partnerships are needed at all levels -- among young people in different countries, between youth and governments, between youth and the United Nations; and at the national, regional and global levels. 

At the national level, I encourage governments that have not already done so to formulate and adopt integrated national policies that address youth concerns; and to support the creation of national youth partnership bodies, so youth policy can be implemented through youth action.  Many youth-related agencies and organizations of the United Nations system have supported the national youth- policy process. 

At the regional level, the United Nations regional commissions are holding hearings with youth non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and intergovernmental organizations to review regional youth trends and plan follow-up actions.  The process is supported by the United Nations Youth Fund.

At the global level, the World Programme of Action endorses two global platforms to review and promote the Programme:  the World Conference of Youth Ministers, which gives voice to governments, and the World Youth Forum of the United Nations System, which gives voice to youth NGOs.  They constitute unique vehicles for dialogue and action.

On this International Youth Day, let us resolve to consolidate our partnerships with youth on every front.  Let us ensure that the leaders of today listen carefully to the leaders of tomorrow.  Let us pledge that young people’s voices will be heard all over the world in the twenty-first century.

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