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International Youth Day: Focus on efforts of youth to restore planet, protect life

11 Aug 2021 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

With the world’s population expected to increase by 2bn people in the next 30 years, it has been recognised by numerous stakeholders that simply producing a larger volume of healthier food  will not ensure human and planetary wellbeing but other crucial challenges need to be addressed, stated the United Nations (UN). They include the interlinkages embodied by the UN’s 2030 Agenda including poverty reduction, social inclusion, health care, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation.

According to the UN, it has been acknowledged that there is a need for inclusive support mechanisms that ensure youth continue to amplify efforts collectively and individually to restore the planet and protect life, while integrating biodiversity in the transformation of food systems. 

Keeping this in mind, the theme of this year’s International Youth Day 2021, commemorated on August 12, is ‘Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health’ which highlights that the success of global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.

“Young people are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dire need for the kind of transformational change they seek – and young people must be full partners in that effort,” commented, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres.

Oman, which is considered as a peace loving country by the international community and gives highest priorities for developing the country’s youth and provide ample opportunities for their development, will also join the international community in celebrating the event.

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the event in Oman will be celebrated on a virtual platform on Thursday. It is being organised by Rajayoga Centre for Self Development.

Yasmeen al Alawi, owner of Sprout, ‘Oman’s first healthy and eco-friendly café’, said, youth are the drivers for change. 

“As a healthy food entrepreneur, we at Sprout, advocate for healthier eating habits helping the growth of a healthy society in Oman and in doing so combat the obesity epidemic. As youth are the drivers for change, youth play a vital role in helping us transform and influence our food systems to create a positive change across our country and the world,” Yasmeen told Muscat Daily.

International Youth Day aims to provide a platform for young people to continue the momentum in the lead up to the high-level food security summit. 

This year, International Youth Day will be virtually convened by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Major Group for Children and Youth.

B K Gayathri, director of the Rajayoga Centre for Self Development, said, “Youth can be a positive force for development when provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive. 

“Today, there are 1.2bn young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 per cent of the global population. By 2030, the target date for the sustainable development goals that make up the  number of youth is projected to have grown by seven per cent, to nearly 1.3bn.”

Gayathri said that Khalid al Huraibi, a well known public speaker and motivator will speak on the occasion. 

Also there will be international motivational speaker from Turkey, Prakash Chogani and will be moderated by Ahmed al Busaidi, an Omani youth. 

“All interested individuals are encouraged to log onto www.rajayogaoman.org and watch the  event online,” Gayathri said.

During the 2021 ECOSOC Youth Fourum, the issues and priorities highlighted by young participants included the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly related to its effect on human health, the environment, and food systems.

Sayyid Omar Al-Said, Co-Founder YUZU Agriculture LLC, said young people brighten up the room, and their collective energy and dreams are the seeds for so many bright, prospective futures.

“I am continually amazed at youth’s ability to look at the world, unanchored to the past, yet seamless with today,” he said.

“Youth day therefore serves as a reminder to me that investing in our youth’s mentorship and education is one of the purest and smartest investments that we can make in our hopes for a brighter future. It offers the possibility to switch the narrative on global issues that have hitherto been so tough to solve – such as those on climate, and food,” he added.

Sayyid Omar said, “It offers a reimagining of the very way we live in our search as a society to better balance various priorities in our lives from a sustainability standpoint.”

He said that it is also a reminder that Youth Day isn’t just for most obvious leaders – but also for whoever in everyday life. “Business managers, recruiters, teachers, older brothers and sisters, and friends, that our youth are a wise and infinitely compounded investment,” Sayyid Omar said.

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