The world in 2015 was a mixed bag for young people. While the rights of LGBT youth were strengthened in the USA, Ireland and Chile, 1 million people fled conflict in Syria and the Middle East, and entered Europe with a majority of refugees worldwide now being children. In France, just days after the November terrorist attacks in Paris, countries committed to limit global temperature increases and curb man-made carbon emissions. In December, the Amman Declaration of the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security led to the UN Security Council’s first ever resolution on young people. In this article, we look to the months ahead and consider what some of the major influences on the international youth sector might be.
In the world of international development, 2015 has been all-consuming. At the UN, the Sustainable Development Goals - now called the Global Goals - were agreed, bringing an end to the four-year long process that began with the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons in 2012. But now that we really are post-2015, in 2016 - year 1 of the new development agenda - we move into implementation and monitoring. It doesn’t necessarily have the political excitement, but it was what the whole process has been about.
At our team meeting in Berlin, we looked to the months ahead and considered some of the major events, processes and trends that may dominate 2016. From our vantage point, here are the five things that we think will shape the international youth sector in the coming year:
In 2016, our work will focus on ensuring our Fact Sheets remain an up-to-date and relevant resources for the youth sector. We’re committed to writing more and providing a space online for debate and discussion. We’ll continue our technical assistance with UN agencies throughout the CEE/CIS region and around the world, and increase our support to all those involved in designing, implementing and evaluating youth policies - particularly civil servants and youth activists.
The world looks like a difficult place in 2016. The implementation of the SDGs and the technical and political accountability that will be needed presents a host of challenges, with close national coordination being required, as well as the focusing of development finance - especially to youth-led organisations. The changing approach to young people through the - most notably through the denial of rights and closing space - will present a dilemma for many, including our organisation, on how we engage and provide the best outcomes for young people. Finally, the humanitarian crises from Syria - and the world’s response for refugees in Europe and the struggle against ISIS - seem likely to continue. Without hyperbole: how we respond will define a generation of young people.
Written by Alex Farrow and edited by Cristina Bacalso.
Credit: Feature photo by Pablo Tosco / Oxfam International, February 2015.