The world’s young people – who make up the largest generation of youth in history – can lead a global drive to break the patterns of the past and set the world on course to a more sustainable future. Young people are directly affected by the tragic contradictions that prevail today: between abject poverty and ostentatious wealth, gnawing hunger and shameful food waste, rich natural resources and polluting industries. Youth can deliver solutions on these issues, which lie at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Ban Ki-moon (2016)
The theme of the 2016 International Youth Day is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption”. This year’s Day is about achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It focuses on the leading role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable production and consumption.
Sustainable consumption is about the use of products and services that meet the basic needs of communities while safeguarding the needs of future generations. The development and promotion of individual choices and actions that increase the eco-efficiency of consumption of all and minimize waste and pollution is critical to achieving equitable socioeconomic development. Yet, many young men and women face barriers to certain green consumption choices. Those barriers to sustainable consumption choices include the high prices of goods and services and a lack of information about the available choices.
Increasing resource efficiency and moving toward sustainable production can contribute significantly to meeting the basic needs of all people, including youth, by making food, water and energy more accessible and affordable to those living in poverty. Investing in sustainable production also creates new markets and employment opportunities and helps ensure the social inclusion of all persons in their societies everywhere.
Changes in consumption patterns also have the potential to contribute to the eradication of poverty. Sustainable development and the creation of conditions that allow for a transition into a green economy, often provide new impetus for economic growth and a higher proportion of spending allocated to social development, including health care and education.
The combined positive impact of sustainable consumption and production on energy use and environmental conservation will greatly benefit those people and places that are more vulnerable to harmful environmental— and industrial— outcomes and climate change. By focusing on the social development dimensions of sustainable consumption and production, this year’s theme places an emphasis on a cross-sectoral approach to sustainability and the vast social, political, economic and environmental interlinkages needed to achieve it.
In 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the General Assembly declared August 12 International Youth Day, which gives an opportunity to celebrate young peoples’ views and initiatives. Celebrations at the United Nations Headquarters and around the world will recognize the importance of youth efforts, collaboration and participation in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and in particular the role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable production and consumption. Events to celebrate International Youth Day 2016 will take place all over the world. Be part of the celebrations by organizing your own event or activity. You can organize an event to celebrate International Youth Day in your community, school, youth club, or workplace. Let us know about your event by sending your planned event or activity for International Youth Day to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll map it on the IYD World Map of Events. You can also follow us on social media at United Nations Youth on Facebook and @UN4Youth on Twitter!