Press Release

United Nations Joint Statement on International Youth Day 2023

18 August 2023

* The UN Adolescent and Youth Joint Programme was launched by President Yoweri Museveni during the National Commemoration of International Youth Day in Kabale District on 18th August 2023. The US $22 million programme will cover 8 districts across 4 regions of Uganda for the 2023-2025 period in its 1st phase. The initiative will be rolled out to other districts as additional resources are mobilized. The programme will be implemented by 13 UN agencies (FAO, ILO, IOM, UNAIDS, UNCDF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC, UN Women and WHO), with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development as lead Ministry, and the National Youth Council.

The International Youth Day 2023 is marked by the national theme: “Accelerating Recovery from COVID-19 and full implementation of the 2030 agenda; the role of youth”, where the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the United Nations (UN) agencies and partners have come together to celebrate youth contributions to national development and to highlight issues related to youth and their wellbeing, their ambitions and aspirations that remain unmet.

Uganda’s significant youth population, comprising 76% under 30 years old, holds immense potential for development. Proper investments in education, health, and protection can harness this potential, while neglect can leave them vulnerable, impacting their well-being. Uganda's adolescents and youth already face Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) challenges, which worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic that led to disrupted education, interruptions in access to SRHR  services and information, increased poverty, food insecurity, exposure to violence, abuse and exploitation. 

It is crucial to capitalize on the potential of young Ugandans and to involve them in national and subnational planning and policy development from a demographic dividend, human rights and results based perspectives for the nation's COVID-19 recovery. Their unique experiences, views and ideas can contribute to the national and international development goals.

Spanning from 6 August, the Youth Week has been a vibrant celebration in Uganda in observance of the International Youth Day. Notably, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the National Youth Council and 13 UN agencies (FAO, ILO, IOM, UNAIDS, UNCDF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC, UN Women and WHO) will be launching the UN Adolescent and Youth Joint Programme on 18 August, when the momentous commemoration ceremony is held.

The Programme, broadly aligned to the Global UN Youth Strategy and the national frameworks and policies, aims to address the barriers hindering youth potential. The focus areas are: sexual and reproductive health, inclusive quality education, skills and employment opportunities, climate action, and peace and security. With an approximate value of 22 million USD, the Programme covers 8 districts across 4 regions of Uganda for the 2023-2025 period, which is the first phase with roll-out to other districts.

In her remarks at the commemoration of the International Youth Day, Dr. Mary Otieno, UNFPA Uganda Country Representative, while speaking on behalf of the UN System in Uganda, called for both vision and action for the youth, noting, “Youth are the resource and backbone on which the country must rely on to advance sustainable development and to generate innovative solutions that will help the country achieve its development goals and reap the demographic dividend.”

“Together, we can ensure that the 2030 agenda and Uganda’s vision 2040 promote the human rights, health and well-being of the largest generation of young people in history,” Dr. Mary Otieno concluded.


Notes to the Editor

Every Year on 12 August, Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Youth Day (IYD) designated by the United Nations and is commemorated every year on 12 August 2023. The Day was proposed at the 1st World Conference of Ministers responsible for youth that took place in Lisbon-Portugal 8-12 August 1998 and approved in 1999 under Resolution 54/120 of the 54th UN General Assembly.

Uganda joins other Commonwealth countries to mark the Year of the Youth 2023, by supplementing the already existing youth programmes and will deliver on other interventions that are intended to support the youth towards COVID-19 recovery and attainment of the SDGs. Some of these programs include but are not limited to the following:-

▪       The UN Joint programme for Adolescents and Youth;

▪       A Coordination Mechanism for Youth Programmes with functional coordination structures at all levels;

▪       A National Action Plan for Youth, Peace and Security;

▪       A reviewed National Action Plan for Youth Policy;

▪       Take on mainstreaming of youth issues into Whole of Government approach;

▪       Professionalization of Youth Work for better service delivery to the young people;

▪       Support the implementation of the Parish Development Model; and

▪       Produce an annual report on the Status of Youth in Uganda.

It is believed that Uganda can harness the demographic dividend offered by its youth population by recognizing youth as key stakeholders in the recovery process; by strengthening platforms for youth participation in decision-making processes; by investing and allocating resources to youth development activities; by having a cohort of professional youth workers to support the youth; and by collaborative efforts involving government, civil society, and international partners. Uganda can pave the way for sustainable development, social progress and a brighter future for its young generation.

For more information please contact; Michael Wangusa, Communication Officer, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator - Uganda via Email:

Michael Wangusa, Development Coordination Officer, Programme Communications and Advocacy

Michael Wangusa

Development Coordination Officer, Programme Communications and Advocacy

UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labour Organization
International Organization for Migration
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Capital Development Fund
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative