The Youth Wellbeing Index returns

The Youth Wellbeing Index returns, with a range of methodological changes – and cautious optimism

Out from the wilderness and quietly released with little fanfare, the Youth Wellbeing Index (YWI), by the International Youth Foundation and Hilton, is back for its second edition. Once again measuring the multidimensional aspects of youth wellbeing in 30 countries across the globe, the 2017 version of the YWI adds a crucial domain – gender equality! –, kicks out some old indicators and switches data sources for others, and utilises new opinion data from the 2016 Global Millennial Viewpoints Survey. In this article, we look at the big methodological changes, their implications for measuring youth wellbeing and youth data globally – and what all this means for youth policy.

Officially tasked to misbehave: introducing the second Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake

In September 2017, Jayathma Wickramanayake became the second person to be the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth. Originally from Sri Lanka, she was the country’s first UN Youth Delegate, is an experienced organiser of international youth events, and wrote her master thesis on youth policy. Yet, she says that she’s often considered ‘too young to be true’ – especially by her older, male colleagues. But taking the reins as the highest official on youth at the UN, has got off to a challenging start: her office is in debt to the UN system. We caught up with Jayathma on the sidelines of International Civil Society Week to talk about her, her role, and her ambitions for the years ahead.

What is the story behind this almost comical relationship of the youth sector to its own commitments?

Why does the global youth sector fool itself with commitments it fails to live up to?

At the First Global Forum on Youth Policies, held in 2014, the UN co-conveners – the Youth Envoy, UNDP, UNESCO – committed to ten global actions to strengthen youth policies. Taking stock of the achievements, more than three years later, is not a pretty sight. Despite the impressive backlog of unfulfilled commitments from the Global Forum, the 2018 Ecosoc Youth Forum concluded with a slapstick commitment session. And we here at haven’t exactly covered ourselves with glory trying to live up to our own commitments made in 2014. What is the story behind this almost comical relationship of the youth sector to its own commitments?