International Youth Day in China: Engaging youth for a green and sustainable future for all
BEIJING, China, 12 August 2023 – In observance of today’s International Youth Day, the United Nations Theme Group on Youth (UNTGY) in China wraps up a four-day celebration of the occasion, recognizing the influential role of young people in shaping a green future.
The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World”. The celebration in China, which started on 9 August, included an online poster campaign to collect insights and information on green skills for youth, and an in-person youth consultation workshop on youth engagement for the green transition.
With the participation of 13 United Nations (UN) entities, their youth partners and young people, the poster campaign has attracted over 1 million views online, demonstrating the potential of empowering young people to drive further change.
The youth consultation workshop held in Beijing on 9 August, saw the participation of a range of youth participants and partners from youth-relevant government institutions, research institutions, academia, youth organizations and networks, and non-governmental organizations.
Lu Shangyang, 16, a youth participant at the workshop, said, “Regarding green skills, I believe that young people can make a difference in two ways. On one hand, we should improve ourselves and consider what we can do individually. On the other hand, we should make a better world and think about how we can inspire and empower more people to understand, learn and acquire green skills.”
She explained that young people may face pressure and challenges, but the ultimate goals always revolve around improving lives by conserving resources, protecting the environment, and raising environmental awareness throughout society. Achieving this requires not only individual actions but also collective efforts from the entire community to contribute to a sustainable future.
As raised during this year’s celebration of International Youth Day, young people in China are already taking action to respond to climate change and protect the planet and vulnerable populations.
For example, Xiong Xiaoquan, a 28-year-old woman working in a local social service centre, is supporting rural women in Qinghai Province to expand their life skills beyond the traditional nomadic life, by developing ecotourism practices and producing Tibetan handicraft products.
Xie Yang, a 16-year-old high school student, is working with his peers in the Student League of Sustainable Development, to raise public awareness of the preservation of biodiversity in the parks of Beijing through field visits and surveys.
“Young people’s perspectives, motivation, enthusiasm, and participation are crucial to creating sustainable change,” said Amakobe Sande, UNICEF Representative to China, adding on behalf of UNTGY, “Their voices and actions guide what our future will look like, and we need them and their commitment to create a green future.”
The UN in China remains committed to working to promote the ability of young people in China to better access climate education and develop skills for the future and green jobs. It acknowledges the pivotal role of young people not only as beneficiaries but as partners and leaders in driving progress towards a sustainable world.
The 2023 celebration marks the second joint UN observance of International Youth Day in China, following the establishment of the UNTGY in 2021. Chaired by UNFPA and co-chaired by UNICEF, the UNTGY brings together 16 UN entities in China. It coordinates the work of UN entities on youth issues whilst involving a dynamic range of youth voices in order to better deliver on their concerns and priorities as one UN.
For more information on the United Nations International Youth Day 2023, please visit: https://social.desa.un.org/issues/youth/events/international-youth-day-2023
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