World Youth Report on Youth Civic Engagement

25. 07. 2017

The World Youth Report on Youth Civic Engagement, which is prepared by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), was recently released 15 July.

The report is published biennially and focuses on youth civic engagement. According to the report, its objective is to “provide a basis for policy discussions around youth civic engagement” so that youth can be fully included in all sectors of the societies in which they live.

The European Youth Forum welcomes this report, as it focuses on how young people can be centered in the creation and formulation of youth policy, through traditional and emerging forms of civic engagement. The report acknowledges that many young people have been disappointed with policies aimed at youth that leave them out of the conversation. These policies often focus on youth employment, which is welcome, but often fall short of creating sustainable employment and truly integrating youth into the political sphere in a meaningful way.

The report addresses key economic concerns of youth including unemployment, internships, entrepreneurships and trade unions. Youth unemployment is an issue facing more than 73 million people around world and constitutes a major reason for youth disengagement. Thus, young people have pursued internships, but these programs are not always of a high quality and sometimes leave said young people in a more economically vulnerable position.

Furthermore, as a result of shrinking job opportunities for youth, entrepreneurship has become a more popular route to employment. However, governmental focus on entrepreneurship often pulls funding away from more sustainable job creation policies.

The report also addresses that youth are not adequately represented in politics, which has led to increasing disengagement in electoral processes. Initiatives such as YouthUp! work to encourage politicians to focus on including youth, as well as encouraging young people to make politics their own.

Young people have been instrumental in bringing about political change through protest; however, they are often left out of political conversations following political transition. Young people have increasingly moved from engagement with institutional politics to engagement with more cause-oriented political activism. Involving youth in addressing the issues that face them creates more democratic governance and community connectedness.

The European Youth Forum also believes that youth organisations play a vital part in creating a space of civic engagement and encouraging further youth civic engagement.

The reports concludes by stating that, “It is only through meaningful involvement and active partnership, inclusive policies and decision making processes, that solutions to some of the key problems experienced by young people can be developed.” Young people need to play a central role in creating the future they want, but they need the support of policy makers and institutions to make this happen.

Read the full report here: The World Youth Report On Youth Civic Engagement

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