Wednesday, August 10, 2016

African Union Celebrates Global Youth Day
August 11, 2016

ADDIS ABABA. – Tomorrow, the African Union Commission joins the world in celebrating
International Youth Day (IYD). Since the year 2000, August 12 has provided key stakeholders with the opportunity to focus on the views, initiatives and challenges that affect young people across the globe. This year, the Commission will collaborate with Beza International under the theme “Youth leading sustainability towards the realisation of Agenda 2063”, to conduct activities which will span the course of three days.On August 10 and 11, a “Young African Think’rs Convention” brought together 150 young people from across Africa, youth networks, diplomatic corps and the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps (AU-YVC).

The youth are embarking on intense brainstorming and ideas generation with Agenda 2063 as the key policy framework that will lead the discussions.

The discussions, which focus on seven thematic areas, would be used to fuel creativity and the ongoing transformation towards youth development on the continent.

Tomorrow, young people will be joined by senior officials within the African Union Commission for a special gathering.

The event will give them the opportunity to present the outcomes of the two- day convention and reiterate their roles and responsibilities in the development of Africa.

In addition to this, the International Youth Day commemorations will provide a platform for participants to creatively promote Agenda 2063 through art, music, video, poetry and drama.

Meanwhile, Unesco director-general Irina Bokova in a message to mark IYD 2016 said: “Young people are not only our future – they are our present. Our planet has never been so young, with 1,8 billion young women and men. They are the most connected, the most outspoken and the most open-minded generation the world has ever seen.

“They are powerful agents of positive change, essential to taking forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“It is not enough to hope for a better tomorrow – we must act now. Change is underway, and millions of citizens are already transforming the way we produce, consume, behave and communicate. Young people, such as our #YouthofUNESCO sustainable consumption advocate, Ms Lauren Singer, show us the way towards a zero-waste lifestyle, fitting all of her refuse produced over the past four years into one small jar! This is an inspiration for this year’s celebration – The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption.

“There are countless initiatives like this, all giving shape to a new humanism, to new forms of solidarity and citizenship to combat poverty, marginalisation and despair.

“Optimism and confidence do not mean we minimise the challenges ahead. Most young people live today in least developed countries, and shoulder the heaviest burden of conflicts and poverty. There can be no sustainable development if they remain on the sidelines, and I call upon all member states and Unesco partners to support their initiatives, to give them voice, to let them grow, to shape together the future of dignity that we are building today.” - AU Commission/Unesco.

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