Kabul, 12 August 2015 - Today the International Youth Day 2015 was commemorated under the theme "Youth Civic Engagement". Representatives of the Afghan Government including Special Representative of the President of Afghanistan in Reform and Good Governance, H.E. Ahmad Zia Massoud, Ministry of Information and Culture, Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs, members of the civil society and youth representatives were part of the gathering which took place at the Government Media and Information Center in Kabul. The event took place with the support of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund and UNICEF.
In 65 countries, more than half of the population is younger than 24. Afghanistan is one of these countries with 63 percent of the population younger than 25 years old, which makes it one of the youngest nations in the world. The engagement and participation of these 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.
UNFPA's recent report, "Investing in Youth: How to realize Afghanistan's Demographic Dividend", shows that investing in youth's empowerment, education and employment is the way forward for Afghanistan's socio-economic development. These young people should be given the opportunity for meaningful participation in decision-making so they can also propel a nation towards development.
"Peace and stability is the foundation of a country's independence and development. Afghanistan's stability and development lays in the hands of youth. We will protect the country with the power and belief of youth and we will advance with their ambition and efforts", stated H.E. Abdul Bari Jahani, Minister of Information and Culture.
The participation rate of Afghan youth is very low in the society. A recent study shows that more than 80 percent of the youth is not actively involved in a political party while 42 percent of the respondents admit to be highly interested in politics.
In order to encourage youth to be more engaged with the society, the Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs presentedearlier this year Afghanistan's first-ever National Youth Policy. This document is a national program for youth that ensures governmental commitment to address youth challenges. It also includes a capacity building plan for young people to participate in planning and decision-making processes so they can actively contribute to the development of Afghanistan.
"The key to socio-economic development in Afghanistan and the transformation of its future is to invest in the potential of young people, particularly girls, and include them in the decision making processes that affect their lives, thus enhancing youth civic engagement", said Dr Annette Sachs Robertson, United Nations Population Fund Country Representative.
The International Youth Day is dedicated to the youth and so was the celebration in Afghanistan. The event kicked-off with a beautiful youth handcraft exhibition. Talented youth received awards and certificates of appreciation for their efforts in the society. Also a theater piece about youth civic engagement was presented. The closings remarks came from the Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, Dr Kamal Sadat.
Flickr: Photo Gallery
UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
For more information:
Sayed Mustafa Saiedy
Deputy Ministry of Youth Affairs Policy and Program Director
Telephone: +93 (0) 700217101
Telephone: +93 (0) 729261392.