Ban: Youth of today face great challenges, opportunities

Aug. 5, 2013 at 2:02 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- On the eve of U.N. Youth Day, the organization's secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said opportunities and challenges are daunting for today's youth.

"Your generation is the largest the world has ever known," Ban told young people participating in the Global Interactive Dialogue on U.N. Youth Initiatives. "The tools at your disposal for communicating and acting are unprecedented. But so are the challenges -- from growing inequalities and shrinking opportunities, to the threats of climate change and environmental degradation."

As part of his five-year action plan, Ban committed to working for and with young people and appointed his first-ever youth envoy, Ahmad Alhendawi, earlier this year.

"Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi is working with different U.N. entities, governments, civil society, academia and the media to empower youth within and outside the U.N. system," Ban said.

He said Alhendawi is working with the U.N. Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development to bring all parts of the United Nations together under an action plan for youth.

The plan, partly based on the My World survey of thousands of youth from around the world earlier this year, focuses on five thematic areas -- employment and entrepreneurship; political inclusion; civic engagement and protection of rights; education, including comprehensive sexual education; and health.

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