International Youth Day 2016

Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production

Every year on the 12th of August, the world commemorates the International Youth Day to celebrate 1.8 billion young people all over the globe. At a time that the youth population is larger than ever, the challenges and opportunities for economic and social progress facing this age bracket (10 – 24 years) are more critical than ever. Needless to say, our common future will be defined by how we meet the needs and aspirations of young people today. To ensure that the future for this demographic dividend is not compromised, it is essential to achieve sustainable development through sustainable production and consumption. It is for this reason that the 2016 Theme is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”.

With the world’s environment continually being polluted and degraded, the earth’s resources face a risk of being completely depleted over the next 50 years. To control this, sustainable consumption and production methods, which entail the use of products and services that meet the basic needs of communities whilst safeguarding the needs of future generations by minimizing waste and pollution, have to be adopted and promoted globally to achieve this.

It is thus not only those in policy and decision making positions responsible for this mammoth task of ensuring sustainable development, but also the youth themselves to be agitators of sustainable development. Activities for this year’s commemorations were focused on engaging young people with duty bearers and decision makers. To harness this, Eye for Development, among other things, in partnership with Network for Youth Development launched the “Timvereni Campaign”.  Looking at the momentum that is being created by the ongoing discussions on young people, a great opportunity emerges for their further integration in the development processes.

The campaign, led by a consortium of youth organizations, young professionals, youth activists, and advocates has been set to harness youth voices and actions towards the implementation of promises, commitments and agreements embodied in local and international instruments including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Youth Charter, and the National Youth Policy. The campaign will among other things help to significantly build and improve upon already existing interventions currently being implemented by different stakeholders through policy dialogue on youth empowerment between youth actors and policy makers.

Speaking at a Press Briefing on the eve of the commemorations, the Executive Director for National Youth Council of Malawi, observed that young people’s participation in processes for local or national development has largely been limited to inviting small groups to take part in one-off meetings and events, essentially making their participation tokenistic if not cosmetic. “It is key that the youth are given opportunities to meaningfully participate in the social, economic and political life of the nation and contribute to the sustained development of the country”, he explained, whilst highlighting some of the recommendations in the National Youth Policy. Today, we have an opportunity to define a post-2016 sustainable development framework, built on lessons learned to meet specific indicators and targets on education, skills development and employment, health, especially sexual and reproductive health, youth participation and leadership, with the youth at the center of it all.

 By changing the way we produce, consume, behave, and communicate, together, we can ensure a sustainable future for the most connected, the most outspoken and the most open-minded generation the world has ever seen. 

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National Youth Council of Malawi
P/Bag 389,
Lilongwe 3,

Tel: +265 1 761 425 | +265 1 761 432

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