International Youth Day

12 August 2019


The theme of International Youth Day 2019, “Transforming education”, highlights efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves.

Rooted in Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals – to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” – International Youth Day will examine how governments, young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education and how these efforts are contributing to the achievement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Statistics remind us that significant transformations are still required to make education systems more inclusive and accessible. Indigenous youth, young people with disabilities, young women, young people belonging to vulnerable groups or in vulnerable situations, etc. are facing additional challenges to access education that respects their diverse needs and abilities as well as reflects and embraces their unique realities and identities.

Making education more relevant, equitable and inclusive is crucial to achieving sustainable development. Education is a ‘development multiplier’ in that it plays a pivotal role in accelerating progress across all 17 SDGs, be it poverty eradication, good health, gender equality, decent work and growth, reduced inequalities, action on climate or building peaceful societies.

The Government of Nepal is celebrating this year’s International Youth Day with the local theme “Transforming Education for Entrepreneurship and Innovation” together with youth-led organizations and various stakeholders. The UN agencies and their partner youth networks are working with the government in the federal, provincial and local levels to promote inclusive and equitable quality education.

2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994. Even after 25 years, integration of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in the formal and informal education systems remains a significant challenge in the developing world, including Nepal. This gap represents a critical impediment to young people’s access to well-being education programmes that transform their lives to one with full potential. When education systems provide CSE, with core components of social and emotional learning and gender education, they advance progress towards the SDGs, including Goal 3: Health, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities.

International Youth Day represents a unique opportunity to highlight the role of CSE in transforming education in the context of the unfinished business of the ICPD as well as in advancing progress towards SDGs.