The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) underlined Tuesday the need to address the obstacles confronted by young people and to invest in them towards building a better future for humanity.
In his statement marking the International Youth Day sheduled on Wednesday, Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, said young people must be strongest partners in the efforts geared towards ensuring peace and security across the world.
"To have any chance of succeeding in building a better future for humanity, we must remove the obstacles confronted by young people and invest in their health, well-being, education and livelihoods to unleash and leverage their full potential as global citizens," said Osotimehin.
In September, world leaders will formally adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), a historic and universal agenda for people across the world.
"The next 15 years offer a unique opportunity for a demographic dividend that will accelerate conflict-recovery and sustainable economic growth and development in many countries if we empower, support, educate and create employment for young people today," Osotimehin said.
He said young women and men need protection from violence, and they have a right to access essential education and health services. "They also have the right to be at the tables where decisions and peace are made."
To fully participate in the lives of their communities, young people need to overcome multiple legal, social and cultural barriers and discrimination, underlined the Executive Director.
Osotimehin reiterated that adolescent girls, in particular, are often burdened by child marriage, sexual violence, unplanned pregnancies and HIV, preventing their full civic engagement.