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Youth engagement key to sustainable development

By Zhang Xiaoxi | 2014-09-16 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)
July 11 is the 25th World Population Day. At the International Conference on Population and Development, hosted by the Wilson Center in Washington, some scholars posited that the population problem involves a wide range of social issues, and the key to solving them is unlocking the potential of the youth through the demographic dividend. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA, argued that the young population is quite large globally, and they have a longer life expectancy, which means they will be able to accomplish more. More development opportunities and care should be given to the young, who will be the key to maintaining sustainability in the face of an aging global population.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, stressed that the world today has its largest generation of youth in history—numbering 1.8 billion. Housed mostly in developing countries, they possess enormous potential to tackle the major challenges facing humanity, he said.
Next year marks the deadline for reaching the Millennium Development Goals, shaping the agenda for what comes next and adopting a meaningful legal agreement on climate change. Youth have a major role in all these processes.
Suzanne Ehlers, of the Population Action International and FP2020’s Rights and Empowerment Working Group, concluded by focusing on adolescent rights 20 years after the conference. She added that both government and social organizations should invest more in the future of young people, without which the dream of sustainable social and economic development would be just empty talk, she said.
The Chinese version appeared in Chinese Social Sciences Today, No.620, July 15, 2014
Edited and translated by Bai Le