International Youth Day is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the value of young people and how to harness their potential.
Young people make up a significant portion of the global population. In fact, 16 per cent of the world, around 1.2 billion people, are 15 to 24 years old, and the youth demographic is continuing to grow. Youth are agents for change and stakeholders with distinct vulnerabilities and needs. They are key actors and beneficiaries.
As the UN research and training institute focused on criminal justice and crime prevention, UNICRI partners with youth because we recognize their unique role to promote peace and security in their communities. Youth are integral to UNICRI’s programmes to strengthen social cohesion and build resilience.
For example, at UNICRI we are working with ten civil society organizations around the world to implement sports-based initiatives to prevent violent extremism. Our work with local civil society underscores the need for leaders to listen to the voices of youth and to make room for them wherever decisions are made.
I urge decision-makers to listen and respect the first-hand insights of young people. By investing time and resources in youth initiatives, we can create fertile ground for young leaders to thrive and make a lasting impact in their communities.
Thank you and Happy International Youth Day.