The twelfth of August will mark a particularly important day for the future of humanity: International Youth Day. Did you know that the objectives of this United Nations’ initiative, first established in 1999, are to fight global poverty and promote sustainable development? It is crucial that those in power pay greater attention to the problems affecting young people aged 15–24, because this group represents a significant proportion of the total population. Altogether, there are 1.8 billion young people around the world!
Since today’s young people will be tomorrow’s adults, it is they who have the ability to meet the challenges of the modern world. Think about how social change takes shape in your country. You will see that, very often, it is young people who are behind such change and who practise the values of tolerance, sharing and equality. But much remains to be done to ensure that children and teenagers from all countries enjoy a good standard of living. The priorities today are access to education and new technologies, the ability to find a job, improved health, the fight against crime and drug addiction, HIV prevention and environmental protection.
As you will no doubt be aware, many children do not have the opportunity to live a normal life: some young people are victims of unemployment while there are children who are forced to work hard to survive. Some suffer from malnutrition or lack access to healthcare. And in many parts of the world, armed conflicts prevent young people from getting a real education. Not all teens get the opportunity to attend a French language camp, for example. Finally, young people know that previous generations have not paid sufficient attention to protecting the environment. Things are now changing, and more and more people are seeking to preserve our natural environment or use resources in a sustainable way. So, it’s a date: see you all on 12 August!