GAISF and SportAccord President Raffaele Chiulli marked the United Nations (UN) International Youth Day by calling on the global sports community to continue to empower and engage the world’s 1.2 billion youth aged 15-24.

Observed globally, International Youth Day provides an opportunity to celebrate and recognise young people’s voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement.

This year’s theme is “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, which is why, now more than ever, International Youth Day is vitally important. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the international sports community has an even greater responsibility to engage with young people to help enrich and develop the lifestyles of millions of people for present and future generations to come.

With the number of young people in the world projected to grow to 1.3 billion by 2030, the target year for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), concerted global action, and meaningful engagement and participation of young people must be addressed effectively.

In order to strengthen capacity and achieve global action, the sports community must not only continue to engage at a local, national and global level, but ensure representation is at the heart of decision making.

Raffaele Chiulli said:

The fundamental goal of so much of sport is to help young people develop physically, mentally and socially. Through the theme of ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’, and during this extremely testing period, I encourage each and every International Federation to continue making a special effort to introduce young people to sport, to allow them to dream big and to enable them to grow.

At GAISF we are committed to doing our own part in a practical and tangible way with our own multisport events. We see the World Urban Games (WUG) as an incredibly important youth engagement platform; it is the ultimate celebration of new-generation sports, forged by the spirit of youth. Not only did last year’s inaugural edition of the WUG in Budapest host 300 of the world’s top urban sports athletes from 48 countries, it also engaged thousands of local school children who attended the event, most of whom were experiencing these new types of sports for the very first time.

As President of SportAccord, the United Through Sports Festival is also a fantastic initiative to unite, to showcase and to inspire young people to become the next generation of athletes. This festival has already engaged hundreds of youth in Bangkok and Gold Coast via demonstrations and presentations. However, we must continue to empower youth through sports. We look forward to working with AIMS to reach hundreds more young people at the next United Through Sports Festival at SportAccord 2021 in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Be sure to check out GAISF’s Twitter page, where we will be sharing the best content from International Sports Federations honouring International Youth Day.