Celebrating International Youth Day 2021 in Africa

Celebrating International Youth Day 2021 in Africa

Celebrating International Youth Day 2021 in Africa


The International Youth Day is an annual celebration of the role that young women and men play as essential partners in change. It provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and problems facing the world’s youth and how young people can be empowered to provide solutions to these challenges.

This year’s theme, ‘Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health’ requires us to examine how Governments, youth-led and youth-focused initiatives/organizations as well as other stakeholders are transforming food systems and how these efforts are contributing to improving human and planetary health. This theme is rooted in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, goal 2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Aspiration 1 of Agenda 2063. Provisions of these instruments aim to ensure food security, increase agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers. The instruments also seek to ensure sustainable agriculture, increase economic opportunities for youths and accelerate socio-economic development. 

The theme for 2021 International Youth day is a reminder of the interconnectedness of an economy that supports youth innovation that can transform food systems to gradually improve human and planetary health. This is especially considering that climate change and the economy affect the rate of hunger and food insecurity globally. The recent UN Climate Change report sounds a “code red for humanity” and projects trouble in our future with global warming reaching an almost uncontrollable level. This is coming after “The State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World 2021” report which revealed that moderate or severe food insecurity remains on the increase with 2.37 billion people not having access to adequate food in 2020 which is nearly 1 in 3 people in the world. While there are varying levels across the continent, Africa was one of the continents experiencing the sharpest increase in moderate or severe food insecurity. In addition, the report also highlighted that between 720 to 811 million people in the world were facing hunger in 2020. In Africa, about 1 in 5 people was hungry in 2020. The 2021 Global Report on Food Crisis (GRFC 2021) also states that over 9 million people faced food insecurity in Nigeria just between March and May 2021 with the numbers potentially rising to 12.8 million people between June and August 2021. 

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