This joint statement on the occasion of International Youth Day, 12 August, comes from a group of youth networks involved in rural and agricultural development with the support of the following organizations FAO, IFAD, WFP, CTA. “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth” – the theme of International Youth Day 2012 – is a perfect expression of our aspirations as we, communities and networks of young professionals for young professionals join together. ARDYIS network, e-Agriculture, GYIN, YPLD, ‘This is my story…’ and YPARD are all taking action to empower youth, boost innovation and work on sustainable livelihoods through dynamic agricultural development. We work on giving youth more opportunities and strong platforms to voice concerns and ideas as well as supporting them to reach their full potential. In particular, we focus on employment, entrepreneurship, political inclusion, youth leadership, information and communications technology, and science and education for youth in agriculture and rural development. On this special International Youth Day 2012, we respond to the UN’s call to celebrate youth by asserting our will to build stronger partnerships for youth empowerment. We will not only continue striving to support our own communities of youth, but declare our will to carry on together in collaboration, strengthening our bonds and initiating common actions. We believe that joining forces is necessary to make the best of our respective expertise, avoid duplication of efforts, expose youth to other disciplines and multi-disciplinary approaches. We need to join voices and get our community of young professionals, their needs and opinions, heard particularly at the political level. Only by working together can we respond to global challenges in a sustainable manner. Youth are primary stakeholders and leaders in our communities, able to fully engage in decision-making and action. There is simply no action for youth without youth! Youth are willing, present and creative; youth are owners. Partnership among our different networks is also beneficial for our members themselves, who connect with each other. We furthermore express our interest in expanding our partnership to different stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, academic institutions and the private sector. Recommendations to the United Nations We salute the UN for its consideration of critical youth issues such as employment, entrepreneurship and political inclusion. At the same time we:
- Strongly recommend that the UN also give attention to the decreasing interest in agriculture among youth, and the challenges faced by youth in agriculture – and take action accordingly.
- Encourage the UN to liaise with communities of youth, solicit their feedback and engage them in designing and implementing concrete actions.
- Encourage stronger collaboration among institutions working on youth, especially on youth in agriculture and rural areas.
- Call for stronger inter-sectoral policy interventions for youth in agriculture, which require interventions, not only in agriculture, but also on areas such as health, education, ICTs, rural livelihoods.