Press Releases

    11 August 2004

    United Nations Stresses Intergenerational Solidarity on Youth Day

    VIENNA, 11 August (UN Information Service) -- “Youth in an Intergenerational Society” is this year’s theme for International Youth Day, to be commemorated on 12 August. With it, the United Nations wants to stress the importance of solidarity between generations at all levels -- in families, communities and among nations.

     “Today’s world has the largest number of youths ever, with almost half its population under 25 years of age. At the same time, by the year 2050, the number of people 60 and older will triple, to nearly 1.9 billion. To prepare for the future, we must promote solidarity between generations today,” said Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General, in his message on International Youth Day.

    The World Youth Report 2003 addressed intergenerational relations and concluded that “policies and programmes based on an intergenerational approach should promote an essential interdependence among generations and recognize that all members of society have contributions to make and needs to fulfil. While the nature of these contributions and needs may change during the progression from infancy to old age, the giving and receiving of resources over time is crucial to promoting intergenerational trust, economic and social stability, and progress.” This year’s theme also commemorates the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family. 

    The Secretary-General in his message also pointed out: “Young people everywhere are preparing for productive, meaningful lives in work, society and family. To be successful, they need access to education and health care. They must also overcome obstacles such as HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, crime and persistent unemployment, which frustrate the potential of all too many young people at a crucial stage in their lives.”

    The United Nations will celebrate International Youth Day 2004 in Barcelona with the Third World Youth Festival from 8 to 14 August with about 10,000 young participants. This is the only event designed by and for youth organizations from all over the world. From 12 to 14 August, the Fifth International Youth Day Conference will be held in Manila, Philippines. Youth leaders from different schools and organizations will discuss youth empowerment at various talks, fora, workshops and group discussions.

    The United Nations General Assembly declared 12 August as the International Youth Day in December 1999. Since then, this day has served to promote youth participation and to address issues concerning them. An international strategy -- the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond (WPAY) -- was adopted by the United Nations in 1995. The programme aims to address the problems of young men and women and to increase opportunities for their participation in the society more effectively. It contains guidelines for the development of national youth policies and for monitoring and evaluating results. In 2005, the General Assembly will be reviewing the situation of youth and achievements made in the implementation of WPAY.

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