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World's Youth Better Off Today - UN Report

World's Youth Better Off Today - UN Report

The world's youth are better off today than earlier generations, although many are still severely hindered by a lack of education, poverty, health problems, unemployment and the impact of conflict, the United Nations says in a new report released today, the first to examine the global situation of young people.

The World Youth Report 2003 measures progress in 10 priority areas - education, employment, extreme poverty, health issues, the environment, drugs, delinquency, leisure time, the situation of girls and young women, and youth participation in decision-making - identified by Member States when they adopted the 1995 World Programme of Action for Youth.

Johan Schölvinck, Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), told a press briefing the main message to emerge from the report was that young people needed to be given the tools to make them effective agents of social change and enable them to realize their potential.

Young women and men between 15 and 24 in some regions were better educated and had an unprecedented knowledge of the world around them, yet 133 million youth remained illiterate. Only one in four young persons - or 22 per cent of young women and 26 per cent of young men - was enrolled in secondary school in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 40 to 57 per cent in South Asia, and 62 to 67 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa.

Of the slightly more than 1 billion young people between 15 and 24, almost nine out of 10 lived in developing countries. Up to 110 million youth were estimated to be malnourished and up to 7,000 became infected with HIV/AIDS daily.

Mr. Schölvinck said the Report also examined five new priorities that had emerged since the adoption of the 1995 plan: globalization; information and communication technologies; HIV/AIDS; conflict; and inter-generational relations.

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