In Focus: International Youth Day

Students in a technical education program supported by the World Bank in Antioquia, Colombia. Photo: World Bank/Charlotte Kesl
Students in a technical education program supported by the World Bank in Antioquia, Colombia. Photo: World Bank/Charlotte Kesl

Top stories | Publications | In numbers | Join the conversation


The global youth population—1.8 billion strong—represents boundless possibilities and talent to build a peaceful and sustainable world. The theme for International Youth Day, 12 August, 2017, focuses specifically on "Youth Building Peace".

Peace and stability has to be built with youth

In her statement for International Youth Day, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka states "Peace and stability cannot be built without young women and men, and it cannot be built for them—it has to be built with them". Read more»

Young women and girls have a diverse range of roles and experiences during and after conflict. They are combatants, collaborators, mediators and peacebuilders, as well as victims and casualties of war, facing additional layers of violence and discrimination because of their age and gender. Their leadership and perspectives are indispensable for stopping conflicts and healing communities.

The 2015 Global Study on the Implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 strongly recommended increased involvement of young people in women, peace and security issues at the national, regional and global levels. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 16, which promotes peace, justice and strong institutions, also requires full engagement of young people, and young women, in particular.

The promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind” demands that we include young women at the centre of our interventions to build peaceful, inclusive and sustainable societies.

Learn more about UN Women’s overall work with youth spanning issues such as ending violence against women, leadership, entrepreneurship and more.

Below, a glimpse into youth efforts on this year’s theme of “Youth Building Peace”.

Top stories

Diana Ruslan Kyzy, a peer educator. Photo: UN Women Kyrgyzstan/Gerald Gunther

In Kyrgyzstan, youth are at the forefront of building peaceful communities

What does engaging youth to build peaceful communities look like? In rural Kyrgyzstan, a UN Women programme has empowered 15,000 young people to take action to prevent violence, promote gender equality and build tolerance of diversity in their communities. Through initiatives such as “My Safe and Peaceful School” and “My Prosperous Farm”, youth have also gained life and livelihood skills.


Saba Ismail. Photo: Angela Catlin

From where I stand: “Peace is not an overnight miracle. Everyone needs to contribute to build peace”

Saba Ismail started working on peacebuilding in Pakistan when she was 15 years old. Despite the challenges she faces, she hopes to see diversities celebrated and everyone contributing to peace.

Sophia Pierre-Antoine. Photo: UN Women

From where I stand: “A big part of being a feminist is to make sure that young women know that they have rights”

Sophia Pierre-Antoine lived through many coup d'état in Haiti and watched the rising violence against women and girls all around her. Her feminism led her on a path to work with young girls to break the cycle of violence.

Francesca De Antoni, 31, is a UN Volunteer and a Programme Coordinator based in UN Women’s office in Mali for a project supported by the Peace Building Fund. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

From where I stand: “When it comes to peace, men are still the main players in the formal talks”

Francesca De Antoni, a UN Volunteer and a Programme Coordinator based in UN Women’s office in Mali, talks about the importance of women’s role in mediation and peacebuilding in communities.


A mixed-national camp in Jordan brings together Jordanian and Syrian refugee girls. Photo: UN Women/Chris Herwig

Football camps in Jordan plant seeds of friendship and cohesion

For Syrian refugees in Jordan, integration into the Jordanian society is fraught with challenges. Mistrust and rumors taint how each group perceives the other. A project by UN Women organized football camps for adolescent girls, where Jordanian and Syrian girls built friendships and social cohesion.



Publications

Youth leap into gender equality

Youth LEAP into gender equality
UN Women’s youth and gender equality strategy seeks to empower young women and young men as partners in achieving gender equality.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) for Youth

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) for Youth
This resource explains CEDAW’s impact in advancing gender equality and human rights for women and girls and summarizes the articles of CEDAW.


In numbers

Every minute a young woman is newly  infected with HIV
A young woman with a university education is two times more likely to be employed than one with less education

Join the conversation

Join the conversation by following #YouthDay, #Youth4Peace and @UN_Women on Twitter. Tune in for a Facebook Live broadcast of our event on “Peacebuilding for and by Young Women,” 11 August at 2.30 pm EST.

A social media package with sample messages in English, Spanish and French for sharing across platforms is available here.