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Youth and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Article Written by Akshan de Alwis

In 2013, the United Nations did something unprecedented. It set up the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) Policy Strategy Group. This Policy Strategy Group’s goal is to help define the World We Want Consultations on post-2015. In 2015 a global development plan called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will expire and governments around the world will develop a new plan to define the world’s next global development agenda set to begin in 2015

The UN Major Group for Children and Youth is a voice of children and youth and is aimed at youth bellow the age of 30 as a platform to amplify youth voices in the new development agenda.

As a youth I have been very interested in listening to the voices of my peers as expressed on the UN Platform. An overarching theme is that while these new development goals will have the biggest impact on the youth who are coming of age in 2015, the youth are largely absent from the policy-making table. One interlocutor states: “Many laws which govern most aspects of the youths lives are … put in place by disconnected adult who have little to no input from the youths themselves.”

Youth have a vital contribution to make to the Post 2015 Development Agenda. As a another interlocutor states, “The main advantage young people have is their youth, however obvious that may sound. This enables them to see things from a fresh perspective, come up with innovative ways of doing things, "Youths aren’t afraid to say it how it is and be honest, therefore you get the right answers and therefore can pinpoint exactly what needs to be worked on.

The ILO has called my generation, a generation at risk. We face an ever worsening youth employment crisis. Youth are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and youth unemployment is likely to rise globally to 12.8 percent by 2018. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned of a “scarred” generation of young workers facing a both high unemployment, increased inactivity and a volatile work environment. The world is squandering both economic and human potential.

Youth unemployment will impact overall productivity and will have inter-generational impact with multiplier effects ranging to social and political instability. The post 2015 Development Goals must harness youth in development and address youth unemployment and under employment as a growing global epidemic. The Post 2015 Development Goals must provide a set of interconnected interventions ranging from access to education, knowledge, skills, social networks as well as capital, micro-financing and mentors. The most powerful ideas on interventions will come from my generation who has the greatest stake in finding solutions. My generation is rich in ideas but we need the United Nations and our governments to invest in us and our ideas.

Article Written by Akshan de Alwis, Akshan de Alwis is a Senior at the Noble and Greenough School in Boston. He partners with youth programs in Burma and elsewhere to teach youth and civic participation. He writes on political change and political transitions in Asia and the Middle East. He is a Huff Post Blogger and an Associate Researcher at the UN DESA.

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Federiga Bindi
Direttrice Centro Europeo di Eccellenza Jean Monnet dell’Università di Roma Tor Vergata e ricercatrice in Scienza della Politica presso la stessa università
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Erasmus+: il nuovo programma di studio per i giovani in Europa
di réduction toysrus, le 21 agosto 2013

Nice article :). I’ve studied abroad in Espagna y eso fue una experiencia unica: tanto al nivel laboral como humano! Je recommande ça à tout le monde :)


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