Safeguarding the planet’s tomorrow
The International Youth Day, celebrated every year on August 12, enables us to acknowledge the manifold prospects and perspectives of our youth. The day is marked as an opportunity to assess the future for the global youth, and set objectives for their betterment in accordance with contemporary world requirements. This year, we are observing the International Youth Day under the theme "Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health," which carries a significant notion of the youth's contribution towards the established food systems and wellbeing of humans and the planet.
This theme and celebration are, in fact, a part of the large chain of activities in regards to the global sustainability framework. The United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasize a total reformation of certain development landscapes such as poverty, hunger, health safety, education, and gender gap. This year's theme for the International Youth Day celebration accumulates various of these SDG features towards one single dimension and underlines the significance of the youth to deliver on that direction.
The 2021 ECOSOC Youth Forum (EYF) saw a demonstration of the issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly related to human health, environment, and food systems. The official recommendations of the forum indicated the necessity of an equitable food system, and hence, aligned the global youth's objectives in the same course, encouraging youth innovation for human and planetary health to ensure sustainable consumption, production, and recycling habits.
As we anticipate the global population to increase by 2 billion over the next 30 years, it can already be projected that only increases in the production of foods might not be enough to ensure the sustainability of the human race on planet earth. The youth, being the next global leaders, has thus been assigned with the sincere guardianship of the future world. This year's International Youth Day shall also remind of this duty to the millions of young minds across the world. Transformation of food systems, healthier consumption patterns, making recyclability a must-have factor, raising awareness against nutrition-related diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and others – are some of the key areas the youth, today, are needed to take charge in. The International Youth Day 2021 is being celebrated as a catalyst to this massive, optimistic, and future-oriented process.
Bangladesh now has the blessing of a demographic dividend. About 63 percent of its total population currently belongs to the working-age group. This is a huge advantage for the country because it indicates the fact that the Bangladeshi market now has huge potential waiting to be converted into huge progress. The International Youth Day could be a great occasion for the nation to recognize this potential once again and figure out specific plans and agendas on how to make the most out of its youth.
The economic foundation of Bangladesh has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, like it has been for many other developing and under-developed countries. The consequences of this global catastrophe need a long-term reformation plan with the inclusion of youth-oriented policies. If we want Bangladesh to be immune to such pandemics or other health crises in the upcoming decades, our upcoming leaders must be trained and prepared on such grounds as poverty reduction, social inclusion, health care, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation. That is why it is very important that we celebrate the events such as the International Youth Day 2021 in Bangladesh with necessary measures to spread out its core messages to every single youth in the country.
The author is Principal, DPS STS School, Dhaka