UN Secretary-General's message on International Youth Day (August 12)

Today, we celebrate International Youth Day, and the power of partnerships across generations.

This year’s theme — “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages” — reminds us of a basic truth: we need people of all ages, young and old alike, to join forces to build a better world for all.

Too often, ageism, bias and discrimination prevent this essential collaboration. When young people are shut out of the decisions being made about their lives, or when older people are denied a chance to be heard, we all lose.

Solidarity and collaboration are more essential than ever, as our world faces a series of challenges that threaten our collective future.

From COVID-19 to climate change, to conflicts, poverty, inequality and discrimination, we need all hands on deck to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and build the better, more peaceful future we all seek.

We need to support young people with massive investments in education and skills-building — including through next month’s Transforming Education Summit.

We also need to support gender equality and expanded opportunities for young people to participate in civic and political life.

It’s not enough to listen to young people — we need to integrate them into decision-making mechanisms at the local, national and international levels.

This is at the heart of our proposal to establish a new Youth Office at the United Nations.

And we need to ensure that older generations have access to social protection and opportunities to give back to their communities and share the decades of lived experience they have accumulated.  

On this important day, let’s join hands across generations to break down barriers, and work as one to achieve a more equitable, just and inclusive world for all people.