This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
The world has more than six thousand million people. Almost half are under
the age of twenty-five. This year's World Population Day on July eleventh dealt
with the subject of young people and the problems many face. Poverty, crime,
barriers to education and jobs, AIDS -- the list goes on.
A message from
the United Nations secretary-general said the lives of young people are shaped
by forces beyond their control. Yet today's young people also know more about
the lives led by others their age around the world. Kofi Annan says as a result
many are demanding action to narrow the divide between rich and poor.
He says there is a clear need to answer the calls for measures to improve the
lives of all. He says information and services related to sexual and
reproductive health are especially important for youth empowerment. He noted
that these are often overlooked.
Kofi Annan says providing for young people is not just a moral duty, but an
The United Nations Population Fund has estimated that about half of all
unemployed people are between fifteen and twenty-four years old. And it says
many young people who do find work are trapped in low-wage jobs with few chances
to learn skills.
The Youth Employment Summit Campaign was launched in 2002. This
ten-year campaign known as YES aims to create programs and polices that lead to
more jobs. Young activists lead the campaign with support from the U.N.
Population Fund and other organizations.
The next world meeting of the YES Campaign will be
held in September in Kenya. About 2,000 representatives, from more than 120
countries, are expected to attend. Half will be young people.
The International Labor Organization says people younger than sixteen should
not work. But the I.L.O. also says it recognizes this is not always possible. A
family’s economic survival may depend on the labor of its younger members.
Still, the U.N. agency reported in May that child labor
has decreased worldwide for the first time. The levels fell by an estimated
eleven percent between 2000 and two 2004. The report said the end of child
labor is within reach. And it called on countries to work to end the worst forms
of child labor within ten years.
With the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss, this
is Shep O'Neal. Transcripts and archives of our reports are at