International Youth Day is celebrated annually on 12 August and was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1999. This day aims to motivate young people to organise activities that increase awareness about youth issues in their country. The UN projects that almost 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old and this number is expected to rise to 57% by the end of 2030. The 2023 theme is Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World. The UN defines “green skills” as “knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society”. It is crucial to hear the voices of young people and invest in their growth and potential.
Embracing the 2023 theme, the Graduate Women International (GWI) Young Member Network (YMN) takes center stage with a video of important messages of commitment and calls to action from their network of young changemakers. Their short video features ten messages from GWI YMN members in Egypt, Ghana, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.A.
The GWI YMN is a group of proactive trailblazers from across the globe. They advocate and work together to empower young women to advance professional growth, share cultures, and foster global friendship. The network is dedicated to taking action towards a greener future and supporting the localisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their countries, communities, workplaces, and homes.
As advocates for positive change, the GWI YMN video delivers impactful messages encouraging positive change, emphasizing the importance of youth acquiring green skills, committing to a sustainable world, and prioritizing education. “As the world is transitioning towards a greener and sustainable future, inculcating green habits and green skills in young people is a significant step for achieving SDGs”, says Sudha Srivastava, GWI YMN President. “While green skills are relevant for people of all ages, they have heightened importance for younger people, who can contribute to the green transition for a longer period of time”, she adds.
Estimates indicate that 8.4 million green economy jobs will be created by 2030 (ILO). However, evidence highlights a shortage of green skills among young people. Amid pressing environmental concerns, GWI urges governments to address their education investment shortages and integrate green skills into education programmes with access by all youth. Education is the key to empowering learners to grasp human-environment interactions, emphasizing sustainable practices and renewable technology, and preparing youth for future careers. In line with a commitment to a greener world, the 2022 GWI General Assembly passed Resolution 8, affirming that A Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment is a Human Right.