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Hopes of the world rest on young people; tap in the power of youth: UN Chief Guterres
International Youth Day was observed across the world on August 12 with the theme "Safe Spaces for Youth" so as to engage them in such a way so that 'they can effectively contribute to development, including peace and social cohesion'.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message for the observance said, "The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance — all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth." It is said that when youth had safe spaces to engage, they could effectively contribute to development, including peace and social cohesion.

According to the UN, there are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. "This is the largest youth population ever. But 1 in 10 of the world's children live in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out of school. Political instability, labour market challenges and limited space for political and civic participation have led to increasing isolation of youth in societies," cautioned the UN website while urging for an increased role of young women and men as essential partners in change.

"The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically Goal 11, emphasizes the need for the provision of space towards inclusive and sustainable urbanization. Furthermore, the New Urban Agenda (NUA) reiterates the need for public spaces for youth to enable them to interact with family and have constructive inter-generational dialogue," stated the website.

It has been urged to draw inspiration from the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) of the UN for youth development to prioritize the provision of leisure activities as essential to the psychological, cognitive and physical development of young people.

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