Today, Wednesday, August 12, marks the 2020 International Youth Day, with the theme, “Youth Engagement for Global Action”.
IYD is an awareness day designated by the United Nations in 1999 with the adoption of Resolution 54/120 to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.
The 2020 Day seeks to highlight ways the engagement of young people will enrich national and multilateral institutions, as well as draw lessons on how their representation in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.
Enabling the engagement of youth in formal political mechanisms will increase the fairness of political processes by reducing democratic deficits, contributes to better and more sustainable policies, United Nations wrote on its website.
Evidence of youth activism
In Nigeria, there is evidence of youth activism and mobilisation, though they are yet to achieve the level of inclusion required to gain representation in politics.
A Not Too Young To Run Bill was signed in 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari to opened up the space to increased youth participation in politics.
However, leadership deficits, money politics, poor internal democracy among the older parties and an absence of a strategic political agenda continue to pose barriers to young people playing a role in national development.
Global challenges require global action
United Nation is advocating that the participation of young people especially in majority of global challenges require concerted global action and the meaningful engagement of young people, to be addressed effectively.
A hashtag, #31DaysOfYOUth on social media has been created to celebrate young people throughout the month of August, and to help spread the word and strike up a conversation surrounding youth engagement for global action.
This year’s IYD is looking at; Engagement at the local/community level; Engagement at the national level (formulation of laws, policies, and their implementation); and, Engagement at the global level.