International Youth Day - SUSTAINABILITY: Our Challenge. Our Future.
Message from Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director
Global, 12 August 2009 – It is often said that young people are our future. They are our present, too. It is today, and not tomorrow, that we must invest in young people and include them in solving the great challenges of our times. Today, more than 1.5 billion people are between the ages of 10 and 25—the largest-ever youth generation—and they are approaching adulthood in a world their elders could not have imagined. The world has been hit by the food, financial and climate crises, and many young people are eager to help steer our world into greater balance.
To ensure their full participation, we must invest in their health, education and leadership. This is especially true for adolescent girls, many of whom face discrimination, and are denied opportunities and life choices. Today, more than half a billion adolescent girls live in the developing world and they represent a huge untapped potential. If educated, healthy and empowered, they can build a better life for themselves, and their families and nations.
UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. UNICEF has the global capacity to influence decision makers and a variety of partners at grassroots levels to turn the most innovative ideas into realities. That makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.