Celebrating ACT’s youth: International Youth Day

Students in a school in Lebanon that is supported by ACT Alliance. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT

Today, on International Youth Day, ACT Alliance is celebrating the work of young people from within its network across the globe who continue to strengthen and amplify the work and impact of the Alliance. The theme for this year’s celebration, Youth Engagement for Global Action, allows us the opportunity to highlight and celebrate ACT’s youth in the life of the Alliance.

Through ACT’s Youth Community of Practice (CoP), young people continue to actively engage in various forms of advocacy and actions at the local and global level, ranging from demanding climate justice, to campaigning for gender justice and inclusion, to taking measures to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the ACT Alliance General Assembly in Uppsala (2018), significant efforts have been made to mainstream young people in the life of the Alliance. ACT is currently in the process of integrating young people to the Governing Board to ensure that youth directly contribute to the decision making processes of the Alliance.

“Youth engagement in ACT Alliance has various purposes. It provides a platform for youth organisations within ACT’s network, and it gives youth the opportunity to participate and to raise a unified voice in global discussions and in the decision making processes of ACT Alliance,” says Amanda Björkell, Co-chair of ACT’s Youth CoP.

Today, ACT’s youth are present and active in national and sub-regional forums, the newly established reference groups, and in various global processes within which ACT engages. ACT Youth have participated in key platforms and processes including the Beijing +25 youth taskforce, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the Civil Society Partnership for Development Effectiveness, among other platforms that are key for facilitating Global Action.

In these spaces, youth contribute their voices, perspectives, experiences, and solutions from the local to the global level. By acting together, ACT’s youth demonstrate the Hope in Action that is needed to enrich national and multilateral processes for a better and more sustainable world.

As we celebrate these milestones, ACT also recognises the various challenges that young people across the globe are currently facing, particularly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACT stands in solidarity with youth affected by discrimination, increased domestic and gender-based violence, the humanitarian crisis in Beirut, the protracted and violent conflicts in South Sudan and Syria, the human rights violations due to anti-corruption protests in Zimbabwe, the post-electoral protests in Belarus, and youth affected by other challenges in their attempts to contribute to a better future.

ACT’s youth are committed to continuing to set an example for youth engagement in global actions by building on the learnings of St. Paul to young Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”.