UN Secretary General, Busumuru Kofi Annan on this year's World Population Day, asked humanity to reaffirm its determination to promote the human rights and well-being of young people, and work with them to build a better world for all.
He said: “The decisions young people make will shape our world and the prospects of future generations. Yet under-investment in the young means that they often lack the resources, training or information to act.”
Busumuru Annan in a statement made at the UN and issued in Accra said; “Governments must inevitably lead the way in addressing this failing. “But all of us, policy makers, civil society actors and ordinary citizens, should contribute in ways both large and small.”
The theme for this year's World Population Day, “Young People”, focuses attention on the unique challenges faced by the burgeoning ranks of the young in societies. He said today, nearly half the world's population, more than three billion people are under the age of 25 and represented the largest cohort of young people in human history and far too many among them were confronted with bleak prospects.
Busumuru Annan said, “no matter where they are born, the lives of young people are shaped by forces beyond their control the prevalence of poverty, the incidence of crime, the availability of education and training, opportunities for decent employment and access to affordable health services.
“Yet today's young men and women are also more aware of the lives led by their counterparts across the world.” He said “as a result, many of them are demanding action to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor and measures to increase opportunities for all.”
Busumuru Annan said there was a clear need to answer their call and that after all, providing for youth was not just a moral obligation.
“It is a compelling economic necessity. Study after study has shown the benefits, to the young and to their communities of investing in education; reproductive health; job skills and employment opportunities for young people. Such returns are especially great in the case of girls. Healthy, educated and informed young women are better prepared to participate fully in society and contribute to the life of their communities.”