Young people from around the world – despite our different backgrounds, cultures, and geographies – have some very similar needs from our leaders.
To achieve these goals, the thing we want most immediately is to be heard – more than that, we want to be an integral part of the decision-making processes that affect our lives and futures.
We are sure you have our best interests in mind, but we wish you would let the very people you’re seeking to help share their opinions. We are the best experts on our own needs. Young people understand what interventions will work for them and what will likely fail. What addresses their core needs and what misses the target.
Understanding young people’s expressed priorities can yield better decision-making and more successful programming. Given that people under 30 comprise half of the world’s population, ensuring that investments pay off is critical.
While we appreciate being convened and consulted, we hope our input is represented in the outcomes.
We recognise the difference between “tokenistic” and meaningful youth participation. It is not enough to invite young people to attend these discussions; instead, young people want to be involved in these discussions, to be invited as active participants, and to take part in implementing the decisions made during these discussions.
In a world where prosperity and opportunity are so easily swept away by economic instability, or civil conflict, we want to be part of the solution instead of being seen as the source of the problem. We want to be able to contribute our ideas to help create a safer and more prosperous world for all of us.
And we hope we can do this together – both young people and policymakers working hand-in-hand.