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To achieve Agenda 2030 including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that all Member States of the United Nations including the Pacific countries have subscribed to, the international community needs to leverage the full potential of all generations also by harnessing and strengthening solidarity across generations. International Youth Day (IYD) celebrated globally on 12 August is dedicated to embracing and promoting the roles that young women and men play in bringing about changes in tackling common challenges in achieving sustainable development.


On the 12th of August 2022, the Suva Civic Center will be a hive of activities for young people to showcase their talents and learn from each other how to develop their personal, social and work skills to better navigate the paths toward adulthood. The Fijian Ministry of Youth and Sports, in partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific, and supported by UNAIDS Pacific, Fiji UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, UNICEF Pacific, civil society organisations (including youth-led), universities and schools, will join the rest of the international community in commemorating the International Youth Day 2022 under the theme: Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages. This joint event will amplify the message that more actions are needed across all generations to achieve the SDGs and leave no one behind.


“To that effect, Fiji’s Ministry of Youth and Sports recognises that the principle of integrity should be adopted by the youth for sustainable progress in any work, project or activity that they involve themselves in,” said the ministry’s Director Mr. Philip Hereniko.


UNFPA Pacific will also take the opportunity of the International Youth Day to launch the agency’s annual flagship publication, the State of World Population (SWOP) Report for 2022. This year’s report, entitled “Seeing the Unseen: The case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy,” brings together the latest evidence on unintended pregnancy and its impact on societies, countries, and global development overall.


Such solidarity that is needed among different generations can be hampered by certain barriers.  For instance, ageism impacts both young and old persons, thus causing detrimental effects on a society as a whole. 


“We look forward to a future in which young people are not discriminated because of their age, in terms of their right to access information and services, in realising their reproductive health and rights,” said Ms. Saira Shameem, UNFPA Pacific Deputy Director, quoting a statement from UNFPA’s SWOP Report 2022 that ‘Pregnancy should not be a breach of bodily autonomy but an affirmative choice.’ Ms. Shameem emphasized, “More intergenerational solidarity is needed in addressing unintended pregnancies in the Pacific, especially amongst adolescent girls, and also in ensuring an inclusive and sustainable recovery.” As the world navigates the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly important to recognize and address these age-related barriers against “building back better” in a manner that leverages all generations’ strengths and knowledge.


UNAIDS Pacific Country Director, Ms Renata Ram, adds that investing in young people and focusing on issues that affect them is one of the best developmental investments that can be made and using an intergenerational approach benefits everyone. “In resonating with the SDG narrative of leaving no one behind, this International Youth Day, we are re-emphasizing the need for the inclusion of young people to be active in all cycles of policy, to be given the opportunity and to be leaders in decisions that affect them. This is especially when it comes to issues of sexual reproductive health & rights; access to prevention and treatment of HIV and other STI’s, contraception options, upholding of human rights in relation to their sexual identity, race, and employment status etc. The need for intergenerational solidarity is vital for achieving improved health outcomes, reducing social challenges and better quality of life.”


A free public entry event will start with a street march at noon 12pm tomorrow 12 August, from the Suva Flea Market to the Suva Civic Center where an official ceremony from 2pm will be presided over by the Attorney General and Minister of Economy Hon. Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum. The event will also feature fashion show by the youth designers, mobile clinic for STI/HIV screening and consultation, Sex Ed O’Clock, workshop on public speaking, talanoa session on intergenerational solidarity, youth exhibitions, music, dance, among others.