More from UN DESA

Volume 28 | No.7 | July 2024

International Youth Day 2024: Youth Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development

Digitalization is transforming our world, offering unprecedented opportunities to accelerate sustainable development. Digital technologies such as mobile devices, services, and artificial intelligence are instrumental in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Data generated from digital interactions supports evidence-based decision-making. With profound impact across economic, social and environmental dimensions, digital technologies and data contribute to at least 70 per cent of the 169 SDG targets while potentially reducing the cost of achieving these goals by up to USD 55 trillion.

Young people are leading the charge in digital adoption and innovation, with three-quarters of those aged 15 to 24 using the internet in 2022, a rate higher than other age groups. However, disparities persist, particularly in low-income countries and among young women, who often have less access to the internet and digital skills compared to their male counterparts. While there is an urgent need to enhance digital inclusion, youth are largely recognized as “digital natives,” using technology to drive change and create solutions. As the 2030 deadline for the SDGs approaches, the role of young people in digital innovation is essential for addressing global issues.

International Youth Day is celebrated annually on 12 August. Since 1999 when the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation by the World Conference of Ministers of Youth to declare this day, it has served as a powerful reminder of the significant role young people play in shaping a sustainable future. This year, the theme is “From Clicks to Progress: Youth Digital Pathways for Sustainable Development,” focusing on how young people drive digital technologies to advance progress toward achieving the SDGs.

For International Youth Day 2024, UN DESA is partnering with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UN-Habitat and the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The official commemoration will take the form of a series of digital products, including case study infographics showcasing youth digital solutions for SDG acceleration. 

By celebrating the digital contributions of youth, we can inspire further innovation and collaboration towards achieving sustainable development. 

For more information: International Youth Day 2024

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan