Today we are celebrating the International Youth Day. Prior to this date, the UN’s ECOSOC Youth Forum stressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly related to its effect on human health, the environment, and food systems. Hence, this year’s International Youth Day highlights the issue of “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”.
In doing so, the International Youth Day aims at drawing more attention on equitable food systems. It further stresses the need to work together with young people through formats of meaningful participation.
Meaningful youth participation for successful development
According to the ECOSOC Youth Forum, a successful transition to a more resilient, healthy, and sustainable global food system can only materialise, if there is intergenerational cooperation. In doing so, this also includes increased education and ways of meaningful participation for young people.
Likewise, additional goals such as poverty reduction, social inclusion, health care, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation also require participatory decision-making formats in order to make a positive contribution to the sustainable transformation of food systems.
Youth participation beyond food transformation
The focus of this year’s International Youth Day not only points out the strong urge for policy change, but also the need to apply more participatory methods of decision-making. Thereby, the International Youth Day is also highlighting the importance of education and accessibility of knowledge for informed decision-making. Additionally, understanding the interlinks of policies and the opportunity to take part in shaping policy decisions constitute a crucial element for viable and sustainable policies that tackle the challenges addressed in the 2030 Agenda.
Addressing youth in the Danube Region
The role of youth in shaping development in the Danube Region is also on the Danube Strategy’s agenda. This year, Priority Area 10 “Institutional Capacity and Cooperation” of the Danube Strategy published the Guidance Paper for Youth Participation. The document presents factors for meaningful youth involvement. Thereby, the Guidance Paper stresses that aspects such as accessibility of information, open and responsive formats of interaction or capacity building in leadership or networking are major contributing factors for improving intergenerational cooperation.
Furthermore, the Slovak EUSDR Presidency put youth on their thematic priorities in 2021. In doing, so the Presidency aims at pursuing the issue of youth involvement in the context of the strategy’s implementation. Against this background, the topic of youth in the Danube Strategy will also be addressed at the EUSDR Annual Forum in October 2021.
In August/September 2021, young people (18-35 years) will have the opportunity to discuss how to tackle the most pressing issues in the Danube Region at the Young Bled Strategy Forum.
- International Youth Day 2021 | Website
- ECOSOC Youth Forum| Website
- PA 10 | Guidance Paper for Youth Participation (pdf)
- EUSDR Annual Forum 2021 | Website
- Young Bled Strategic Forum