Press Release

World Population Day 2014 - Investing in our youth is an investment in our future

10 July 2014

HA NOI, 10 July 2014 – On 11 July, as communities everywhere observe World Population Day, UNFPA calls for investments in support of the largest-ever generation of young people.

Today, there are about 1.8 billion young people – those aged 10 to 24 – comprising roughly one quarter of the world’s population. Their aspirations and achievements will shape the future.

We know that healthy, educated, productive and fully engaged you ng people can help br e ak t h e cycle of intergenerational poverty and are more resilient in the face of individual and societal challenges,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA. “As skilled and informed citizens, they can contribute more fully to their communities and nations”.

Yet too many youth continue to grapple with poverty, inequality and human rights violations that prevent them from reaching their personal and collective potential.

Data from the 2009 Population Census shows that Viet Nam has entered a "golden population" period, recording the highest proportion of young people in Viet Nam’s history. Young people between the ages of 10 to 24 years old now represent nearly 40 per cent of the total population. This "demographic window of opportunity" remains open until 2040, presents Viet Nam with a one-time and unique opportunity in its history to plan for this population transformation, to make this golden period the driver for socio-economic prosperity the way other countries in Asia have so successfully done, by ensuring that everyone counts and that every young person is educated and supported to achieve their full potential.

On 10 July 2014, nearly 1,000 young people gathered in Nha Trang beach. Khanh Hoa province to celebrate the World Population Day, together with 500 representatives from the Government, National Assembly, Ministry of Health, other line-ministries, private sectors and hundreds of people living and working in Nha Trang city.  This was a great opportunity to reinforce the Government's commitment to ensure that young people can progressively develop the knowledge, skills and resilience needed for a healthy, productive and fulfilling life.

Adolescents and youth are central to the future development agenda. Safeguarding their rights and investing in their future by providing quality education, decent employment, effective livelihood skills, and access to sexual and reproductive health and comprehensive sexuality education that emphasizes gender equality, is essential to their development and that of their families, communities and the country as a whole.

However, the largest generation of adolescents is entering their sexual and reproductive life. Yet, there has been too little progress in preventing adolescent pregnancies, unsafe abortions, STIs and HIV and there are significant gaps in availability, quality and access to comprehensive sexuality education and services for young people.

Addressing the Celebration to mark World Population Day 2014, Director of the General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP), Ministry of Health. Dr. Duong Quoc Trong emphasized:

"Viet Nam has achieved many progressive achievements in youth related issues over the past years. However, young people are still facing many difficulties and challenges to reach their full potential. It's time for Viet Nam to review our work to provide better support to young people. It's now time to invest in young people. Investing in young people is an investment in our future".

Young people have the right to have their voices being heard. It is important that they participate in the development of their country and in the implementation of policies and programmes that affect their lives.

"In order to make youth participation an integral part of the coordination me chanism of youth affairs in Viet Nam, we have to do more than just let young people get their foot in the door. We need to let the youth representatives in the room with us, and give them a seat at the table, when decisions are being m ade", said Mr. Arthur Erken, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam, at the celebration in Nha Trang city. "Full participation of young people requires building capacities and developing the skills, and creating sustainable partnerships of which we all will benefit. Youth participation not only leads to better decisions and outcomes, but also prom otes the well-being of young people and their commitment to being active developers of the future of Viet Nam", added Mr. Erken.

On World Population Day 2014, the UNFPA in Viet Nam launched a "Selfie Campaign", which is part of the global campaign launched in July 2014 and will run to September 2015 to harness and demonstrate to world leaders the worldwide support that exists for young people to feature at the heart of the development agenda post-2015.