Champion young people as ‘drivers of change’, UN chief urges

Young people must be recognized around the world as “drivers of change” and empowered to become “fully engaged in decisions affecting their future,” said Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday, World Youth Skills Day.

From climate change to conflicts to persistent poverty, young people are “disproportionately impacted by interlinked global crises,” his Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake, told a commemorative event in New York, speaking on behalf of the UN chief.

“Today, we highlight the importance of transforming youth skills for the future of work,” she said, delivering his message from the top.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated fragilities, leaving 24 million young people today, at risk of not returning to school and accelerated the labor market’s transformation, “adding uncertainty and widening the digital divide”.

“We must ensure the right of young people to effective and inclusive education, training, and lifelong learning…[by] ramping up youth skills development, while investing in technical vocational education and training (TVET), broadband connectivity, and digital skills,” the message continued.

To this end, top politicians, and leaders from youth and education non-governmental organizations, will meet in September during a Transforming Education Summit at UN Headquarters in New York.

Guided by the UN Youth 2030 strategy, the UN chief urged everyone to “act for youth skills development as a priority, at the Summit and beyond”.

“Together, let us build a more just and thriving workforce, rescue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind,” his message concluded.

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