By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in observing World Population Day today (Friday July 11), strongly cautioned against the overlooking of youths and urged that investments be made now to ensure that they reach their full potential, as individuals and citizens.
At a ceremony to observe the worldwide celebration which is being held under the theme: “investing in young people,” United Nations Resident Coordinator Khadija Musa presented the statement of the Executive Director of UNFPA.
It was noted that today’s 1.8 billion young people across the world are helping to shape social and economic realities, challenging norms and values and building the foundation of the world’s future.
She observed that governments and the international community are increasingly conscious of the importance of providing resources and opportunities for young people to reach their full potential. “They recognize that investing in young people and enabling them to exercise their human rights not only benefits young people themselves, but can also help their countries reap a demographic dividend,” Musa said.
She highlighted some of the challenges facing the world’s youths and pointed out that While adolescence should be a time of growing possibilities, too many young people are faced with mounting vulnerabilities instead.
Meanwhile, UNFPA Assistant Representative Patrice La Fleur said the body is very concerned about the growing number of marginalized youths and their access to education and social services.
“There can be no inclusive development without development for adolescents,” she said; adding that it is important to create the enabling environment for youth empowerment.
“It cannot be ignored and it must not be ignored.”
However, Youth and Culture Minister Dr. Frank Anthony pointed out that the call for youth investment must also be backed with the mobilization of resources at the global, regional and national levels.
He supports the call and said it is time to move from advocacy and show action.
Minister Anthony spoke directly to sustaining funding to fight HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases along with teenage pregnancy. According to him if funding is taken away now it can result in a regression of the good successes achieved in these areas.
He said it was equally important to promote sexual reproductive health and make youth friendly services more widely available.
The Minister added that there was too much talk and said more needs to be done to ensure that the necessary resources are provided.
Several young persons shared their experiences of living in Guyana and the issues that plague them, opportunities available and provided solutions they think would best help to make youth development a priority.
The event also saw attendance from civil society, private sector and the government.