International Decade for People of African Descent
The United Nations proclaimed 2015-2024 an International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD), recognizing that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected everywhere. It is estimated that roughly 200 million people, identifying themselves as being of African descent, live in the Americas while many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent.
In declaring the Decade the international community put emphasis on Recognition of the universal right to equality and non-discrimination; on access to Justice and on the right to Development, including education, employment, health, housing and all measures against poverty.
The Government of Canada formally recognized the International Decade in 2018, committing to a better future for Black Canadians. This means learning more about the issues that affect Black Canadians, including improving research and data collection, so we can better understand the particular challenges they face. Mental health challenges and overrepresentation in the corrections system have been raised in particular by community leaders as specific barriers to Black Canadians experiencing full and equal participation across our society. Those barriers can be both overt and nuanced or unrecognized – all need attention and action.
“Today is an important day for Canada. Our commitment to the International Decade will help us better address the very real and unique challenges that Black Canadians face, and bring us closer to a more just and inclusive country.”
—The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.
The United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) has built on this Declaration, enhancing Black anti-racism components in its well-established anti-racism programmes. Programmes such as Building Young Entrepreneurs, and Multi-media & Multi-culturalism serve as a pathway to bridge Black and other racialized Canadian youth to meaningful and durable employment and social connections. UNA-Canada’s programmes are designed to equip youth with skills, networking, mentorship and internships as a roadmap to success. Striving to work with partners in the formal and non-formal educational settings, with various levels of government, with private sector and like-minded civil society organizations, UNA-Canada is committed to mark IDPAD as it carries out its mandate of educating and engaging Canadians in the UN and the global issues that affect us all.