2015: Time to invest in future generations

2015: Time to invest in future generations2015 will be a critical year for the global community and the United Nations. It is the year we face several decisions – on disaster risk reduction, financing for development, sustainable development and climate – that will shape our collective futures for generations to come. The “2015 Time for Global Action” campaign is centred around monthly themes that coincide with the priorities for 2015 and opportunities in the calendar of events. The month of July will highlight Partnerships.

“As the torch bearers of the new development agenda, youth have a critical role to play in ending poverty, inequality, hunger and environmental degradation. Their actions will be central in ushering in an era in which no one is left behind.”  – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Young people represent the future of our planet and they will be essential to implement the new development agenda to be adopted in September. With this in mind, we highlight some of the main challenges young people face today, and the importance of taking their voices into account in all areas of development.

Key dates and events
International Youth Day, 12 August 2015
The theme of International Youth Day 2015 is “Youth Civic Engagement.” The engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve sustainable human development. Yet often the opportunities for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are low or non-existent.

More efforts are needed to raise awareness about the importance of youth civic engagement and its benefits to the individual and to society, including for sustainable development as well as resilience and wellbeing. The International Youth Day 2015 campaign aims at promoting civic engagement and participation of youth in politics and public life, so that young people can be empowered and bring a full contribution to society, development and peace. Learn more.

Key facts
For a full list of facts on more issues please see here.

· 10.6% of youth globally are non-literate. [UN Youth SWAP, 2014]
· In 23 countries, more than 75% of adolescents have not completed lower secondary school. [UNESCO, 2011, report (pdf)]
· In 8 countries more than 50% of young people aged 20-24 years have less than 2 years of schooling. [UNESCO, 2011, report (pdf)]
· 62.9 million adolescents of lower secondary school age remain out-of-school. [UNESCO, 2014, fact sheet (pdf)]
· Each day, young women and children spend 140 million hours collecting water, which significantly diminishes their access to education and labor markets. [UN WOMEN]
· 225 million youth, or 20% of all youth in the developing world are not in education, employment or training. [World Bank, ILO]
· In a country with a high ratio of youth to adult population, doubling the percentage of youth with secondary education, from 30% to 60%, would halve the risk of conflict. [UNESCO, 2014]

Young women
· One in 7 girls in developing countries are married before age 15, and 38% are married before the age of 18. If present trends continue, 100 million girls will marry over the next decade, equaling 25,000 girls married every day for the next 10 years. [UNFPA & UNICEF, Co‐Chairs of the UN Adolescent Girls Task Force, 2011, fact sheet pdf]
· Young women aged 15–24 years are as much as 8 times more likely than men to be HIV positive. [UNFPA & UNICEF, Co‐Chairs of the UN Adolescent Girls Task Force, 2011, fact sheet pdf]
· When women and girls over 16 earn income, they reinvest 90% of it in their families, compared to men who reinvest only 30% to 40%. [UNFPA & UNICEF, Co‐Chairs of the UN Adolescent Girls Task Force, 2011, fact sheet pdf]
· Each year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10% to 20%. An extra year of secondary school: 15 % to 25%. [UNFPA & UNICEF, Co‐Chairs of the UN Adolescent Girls Task Force, 2011, fact sheet pdf]
· A World Bank study of 100 countries found that every 1% increase in the proportion of women with secondary education boosts a country’s annual per capita income growth rate by about 0.3 percentage points. [UNFPA & UNICEF, Co‐Chairs of the UN Adolescent Girls Task Force, 2011, fact sheet pdf]

· Youth represent 25% of the total working age population. [ILO FAO, 2013]
· Globally, almost one in 7 youth are looking for work. [ILO, 2015]
· The youth unemployment rate is 13.1% which is 3 times the adult unemployment rate. [ILO, 2015, report (pdf)]
· Globally, many university graduates are underemployed and do not use skills they acquired in school. [UNDP, Empowered Youth Sustainable Future, report (pdf)]
· 2/3 of youth in developing economies are without work, not studying, or engaged in irregular/informal employment. [UNDP, 2014, report (pdf)]
· Youth constitute 17% of the population but 40% of the unemployed. [ILO FAO, 2013]
· Social unrest is more common in countries and regions where male youth unemployment is high or rising rapidly. [ILO, 2015 report (pdf)]

Learn more about the 2015: Time for Global Action campaign.