UN Uzbekistan: Ensuring Sustainable Future for Youth
UN in Uzbekistan celebrated International Youth Day with a range of activities starting from a comprehensive presentation of UN’s active work on promoting youth engagement in the country and around the world and concluding with the UN Social Media Zone session organized live on its social media platforms.
The events started with a lunching ceremony on August 9th at the Youth Union of Uzbekistan where UN agencies presented the latest projects, programmes and initiatives related to supporting the youth in Uzbekistan – a priority in the country’s current reform agenda, and the initiatives ready to take off soon for further supporting the role of young people in Uzbekistan’s national Sustainable Development agenda.
“Countries that made deliberate efforts to include women generated greater dividends and participation of young people, or giving them a space, in the political, economic and social life has found to be an important element to build a harmonious and stable society. So Health, Education, Employment and Participation of young people while ensuring equal opportunities for young women and men are the elements needed to realize the potential of the demographic window of opportunity….We congratulate the Government’s commitment to invest in young people and are committed to support the country to seize this golden opportunity for accelerating economic growth and to develop an equitable, sustainable and stable society, which is indeed the vision of the SDG.” - stated Ms. Mieko Yabuta, UNFPA Representative in Uzbekistan, in her opening speech.
Greeting the participants of the event, Sascha Graumann, the UNICEF representative in the country said: “As we deepen collaboration with the Government in the area of youth rights and well-being, it is important to go beyond providing services to youth. We need to give young people - especially the most marginalized – agency, voice and opportunities for meaningful participation in social, political and economic life of society.”
The theme chosen for International Youth Day 2018 – Safe Spaces for Youth – is a global call to action for young men and women, as well as other stakeholders around the world, to develop and engage in partnerships with and for youth towards ensuring safe spaces for youth where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves. As the UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated in his message on the International Youth Day: “The world’s young people need safe spaces -- public, civic, physical and digital spaces where they can freely express their views and pursue their dreams.”
Addressing the gathered, Farid Garakhanov, the Acting UN Resident Coordinator highlighted that In Uzbekistan, more than 60% of the population is young people under 30 years of age, and this is a big burden on the country's labor market. At the same time, the youth policy implemented in Uzbekistan contributes and creates conditions for realizing the potential of young people.
Welcoming remarks were followed by detailed presentation from UN experts who elaborated on their youth related agenda in the country.
Currently in Uzbekistan there are 10,400,000 boys and girls under 18 or approximately 40% of entire population of the country. Over 17 million people, that is 64% of population are under 30. The State Youth Policy of Uzbekistan adopted in 2016 makes clear commitment to provide youth with quality education, health services, and employment, to guarantee their rights, freedoms and interests so that they effectively participate in the implementation of the state youth policy, in shaping their own future. The State Policy also takes holistic approach to youth development by providing them with spaces to adopt healthy lifestyle, enjoy leisure activities and engage in sports.
Youth Day celebrations continued on Saturday, August 11 with a cycling sport event to promote healthy lifestyle among girls and women.
On Sunday, August 12, UN Social Media Zone was organized live on Facebook, featuring representatives of youth organizations, media personalities, women bloggers and UN experts, who shared experts' opinions on youth engagement, leaderships, skills, empowerment, challenges and opportunities faced by youth.