Rome (Italy). On 12 August 2021, International Youth Day is celebrated, established in 1999 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, to give a voice to young people and their initiatives, enhancing their important role in social and economic changes, and to reflect on the challenges and on the difficulties they face.

The theme “Transforming food systems: youth innovation for human and planetary health” – aims to highlight the fundamental participation of young people in the global commitment to the Planet.

Young people are at the forefront of achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda, including poverty reduction, social integration, health care, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation.

The international community believes that inclusive alliances are needed that  ensure young people can continue to work effectively, collectively, and individually, to protect the planet and life, integrating biodiversity into the transformation of food systems.

In the Youth Forum of the Social Economic Council (ECOSOC Youth Forum) held in April 2021, young people stressed the importance of working towards fairer food systems and the need to make more accurate food choices, through greater global education for healthier and more sustainable choices, both for individuals and for the ‘environment.

Food systems concern not only the basic ways of bringing food from producers to the table, but also all the processes and infrastructures involved in feeding a population and the harmful emissions that can be generated during the process, generating pollution and desertification. It also highlights the risk of diseases transmitted directly or indirectly between animals and humans, which can derive from unsustainable agricultural practices and the climate crisis.

In the Video message for the International Youth Day 2021, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, hopes for the involvement of young people for a more inclusive, just, and sustainable world: “Young people are at the forefront of efforts to build a better future for all. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for transformative change  in which young people must be full partners in this commitment”.

This year’s International Youth Day highlights the solutions developed by young innovators to address the challenges of food systems. Young innovators are tackling inequalities in food security, biodiversity loss, threats to the environment, and in many other areas with various initiatives, from gender equality to education and skills development.

The #YouthLead Innovation Festival will take place on 12 and 13 August 2021, where innovative solutions led by young people will be presented for achieving the 2030 Agenda Goals (SDGs) and recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. The event aims to offer all young people, the most disadvantaged and vulnerable, the opportunity for dialogue and collaboration with partners and companies for innovation and the use of technology.

On 12 August, International Youth Day 2021 will be celebrated with a Webinar which will focus on the role that young people can play in achieving more equitable and sustainable food systems, based on the work of the ECOSOC Youth Forum 2021. The Webinar will promote innovation, the exchange of knowledge, and the involvement of young people towards the United Nations meeting on food systems (Food System Summit) that will be held in 2021 in New York.


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