In 1965 the United Nations General Assembly began making a concerted effort to impact the youth. They began devoting time and resources to empower the youth by recognizing up-and-coming leaders and offering them resources to meet the needs of the world. On December 17, 1999, General Assembly resolution 54/120 endorsed the recommendation that August 12 be declared International Youth Day. Such a day provides an opportunity to celebrate young peoples’ views and initiatives on a global scale. The theme of International Youth Day 2021 is “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.
Youth have stressed that concrete actions are needed, particularly the work done around fisheries and aquaculture and the crucial role of youth employment and entrepreneurship in small-scale farms and rural areas. Today, COVID-19 is adding to the strains on our food systems, disrupting markets and supply chains for small-scale farmers worldwide, threatening peace and stability, particularly among the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. Youth continue to state that we face a health crisis and climate crisis that demands urgent changes to our food systems; business-as-usual is not an option anymore. Therefore, a more holistic and inclusive framework is needed to address these complex issues through integrated approaches.
This year’s International Youth Day aims to provide a platform for young people to continue the momentum from the ECOSOC Youth Forum (EYF) in the lead-up to the high-level Food Systems Summit through youth education, engagement, innovation, and entrepreneurial solutions. This year, International Youth Day will virtually convene by DESA in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Major Group for Children and Youth.