Yesterday was World Population Day, an annual event to raise awareness of global population issues. This year, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund chose the day to kick off a yearlong push to improve investment in adolescent girls. Girls around the world face greater challenges than their male counterparts. Yet with the largest percentage of youth in history, we - as a global population - have a great opportunity to improve the future of humanity by improving the fortunes of girls around the world right now.
One year ago, The United Nations Population Fund asked us to help engage youth in a global discussion to help set UN population policy for the next 20 years. Hundreds of youth leaders met at the Global Youth Forum in Bali - joined by thousands participating online representing every country in the world (even Antartica!)- and drafted what has become known as the Bali Declaration. Setting specific, bold targets for improving the status of women, LGBT, and underprivelidged youth, as well as improving health, education, and employment worldwide, the Bali Declaration has been hailed by some as the most progressive UN Declaration to date.
Did you know that 43% of the world is under age 25? Almost half! And that number is over 50% in developing countries. This number represents a half of the world that has long clamored to have its voice heard - and has found technology and social media to be the platforms that finally give them the influence they have long demanded. Just look to Egypt and the Arab Spring for potent examples of the power that youth wield today.