UN unveils campaign to promote young people in politics

By Cecilia Ologunagba

The UN, together with the Special Envoy for Youth, launched a campaign on Wednesday to help young people participate in politics and raise their voices in public life.

“The intergenerational gap in power, influence and trust is one of the greatest challenges of our time,” UN youth envoy Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake said in a statement.

The “Be Seen, Be Heard” campaign, which partners with The Body Shop International, seeks to create long-term structural changes that promote the inclusion of young people in decision-making.

The collaboration between the Office of the Youth Envoy and The Body Shop means that young people and others will have many routes to take part in the campaign, which will run until mid-2025 in 2,600 stores.

Local campaign activities will also include partnerships with youth-led or youth-focused non-governmental organizations (NGOs), petitioning opportunities and other actions.

“With the climate crisis, global conflicts and generational inequalities running rampant, the contributions, perspectives and representation of young people are needed more than ever,” Wickramanayake said.

The campaign aims to make the voices of millions of young people heard in more than 75 countries on six continents.

To understand the misconceptions and structural barriers that prevent young people from participating in public life, the report “Be Seen, Be Heard: Understanding Youth Political Participation, also released on Wednesday, not only provides an overview but offers recommendations to meet these challenges.

The report confirms the fact that there is a chronic lack of trust in political systems, but a clear appetite for greater representation of young people of all age groups.

He says 82% of people around the world think the political system needs drastic reform to be ready for the future, and almost 70% think young people should have more of a say.

Three-quarters of under-30s believe politicians and business leaders have “ruined things up” for people and the planet and are ready for change.

Moreover, two in three people also disagree with the age balance in politics and eight in 10 argue that the ideal age to vote for the first time should be 16 to 18 – even though most countries Restricted to 18 years or older.

Recent data shows that although almost half of the world’s population is under 30 years old, it only represents 2.62% of global parliamentarians and the average age of a world leader is 62 years old.

Wickramanayake stressed the importance of including young people in decision-making to combat mistrust of political institutions and alienation from elected leaders.

“As young people have made clear through their activism on the streets, in civil society and on social media, they care deeply about the transformational change needed to create more equitable, just and sustainable societies,” he said. she declared.

The campaign is an opportunity to change and move towards policies that “reflect young people’s priorities, reflect their concerns and speak their language”.

According to the survey – which covered 26 countries with 27,043 respondents in total, more than half of whom were under 30 – 67% believe in a better future, with those aged 15 to 17 being the most optimistic.

And more than two-thirds agree that political systems would be better if there were more opportunities for young people to have a say in shaping and changing policy.

Essentially, this campaign recognizes that young people have a vital role to play in decisions that affect us all. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Vincent Obi

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