International Youth Day 2022: Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages


Illustration: UN Women/Poompat Watanasirikul
Illustration: UN Women/Poompat Watanasirikul

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world needs to leverage the full potential of all generations. Solidarity across generations is key for sustainable development. We must collaborate to foster successful and equitable intergenerational relations and partnerships to ensure “no one is left behind.” While intergenerational solidarity and concern for future generations is being called for in tackling global issues – with the UN Secretary-General recently putting forward new recommendations on renewed intergenerational solidarity, including in Our Common Agenda – many challenges remain.

The Global Report on Ageism launched by the United Nations in March 2021 highlights the many data gaps that exist with regards to ageism against youth. Despite this lack of research, young people continue to report age-related barriers in various spheres of their lives such as employment, political participation, health and justice. On an individual level, these age-related obstacles can deeply impact wellbeing and livelihoods not only during the youth years, but also in adulthood. On a societal level, ageism prevents us from thinking and designing policies and social services that adopt a life-course approach and are fair for all ages.

In this context, the objective of this year’s International Youth Day theme, Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages, is to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the SDGs and leave no one behind. The 2022 International Youth Day will also raise awareness on certain barriers to intergenerational solidarity, notably ageism, which impacts young and old persons, while having detrimental effects on society as a whole.

With the world’s population expected to increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years, just producing a larger volume of healthier food more sustainably will not ensure human and planetary wellbeing. Older women face discrimination, bias, and marginalization, as recognized by the General Recommendation Number 27 of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

This discrimination, bias, and marginalization is only further compounded for older women with disabilities. They are systematically overlooked and underrepresented in development policies, programmes, initiatives, legislation, as well as humanitarian efforts. Moreover, gender inequality, ageism, and ableism are further exacerbated by other forms of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, caste, religion, migration status, among other factors.

Now is the time to address the interlinking challenges of gender inequality, poverty reduction, social inclusion, health care, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation. Youth have been, and will continue to be a part of the conversations and action to restore the planet and integrating biodiversity in the transformation of food systems, and therefore will also remain closely engaged in the implementation work of the Action Coalitions that were launched during the Generation Equality Forum.

On International Youth Day, join us in uplifting the voices of youth and celebrating their leadership.

In statement

Statement: Intergenerational solidarity – Creating a world for all ages
UN Women statement for International Youth Day, 12 August 2022

Youth leadership and intergenerational partnership: The driving force of Generation Equality

Ageism is an issue of inequality, discrimination, and injustice. Without tackling it, we will not achieve gender equality by 2030. Ageism impacts everyone—young and old. Prejudices surrounding age are widespread and unchallenged—in our attitudes, beliefs, policies, and societies—and create a formidable barrier to young women’s full participation in their communities. Negative stereotypes can exacerbate harmful norms and stigmas that prevent young women’s full participation in their communities across the world. It is essential that we shift these destructive narratives and encourage and facilitate the leadership and full engagement of young women in decision-making, so that the shape of the future is informed by their views and knowledge. Read more

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30 for 2030 Initiative

UN Women ROAP launched the 30 for 2030 as a youth leadership network that brings together young decision-makers, eminent civic and business innovators, feminists, entrepreneurs, technology pioneers, educators, activists, artists, journalists, and more. The 30 for 2030 thought leaders and experts are determined change makers to accelerate progress toward the 2030 Agenda from a feminist perspective, break down gender barriers and make gender equality a working reality in their spheres of influence. The network will act as advisory community and an accelerator of exceptional people with the vision, courage, and influence to drive positive change for a gender equal world. Find out more

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