12 August was designated as International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999. It is an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in promoting human rights and development. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and hardships facing the world’s youth.
Young people are powerful agents of change and progress when they are educated and empowered to participate in decision-making. Yet around the world, too many youth are being left behind. They receive a substandard education, or no education at all, and find few decent employment opportunities. They struggle to access basic sexual and reproductive health information and services. Without these tools, young people – young women, in particular – find themselves grappling with poverty, early pregnancy, disease and other challenges.
UNFPA advocates for the rights of young people, including their right to accurate information and services related to sexual and reproductive health and their right to play a role in decisions affecting them.