Participation & Governance

The conversation on youth participation at international summits and events must start now

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We need to start a new conversation on the participation of young people at international summits and on the breakdown in global governance as the vehicle for achieving change. Whether it is the inertia of international institutions, outdated civil society organisations, disillusioned youth or weak political will, the failure to agree solutions to problems echoes through conference centres around the world.

“A crisis that’s severe enough will help to overcome social and political inertia. - The key question is then: is the global governance crisis severe enough for civil society to successfully redefine it?”

The blogs on this website have been brutal in their assessment ofinternationalyouth participation and global governance. It’stough critiquefocuses on politicalinstitutions international agencies, civil society organisations, youth organisations and young people themselves.

“If we honestly, brutally question our efficiency as a movement, we have to realise that we have had very little meaningful impact.”

“We need to stop our amateurish approach to young people’s voice and influence in global decision-making and get real about why we’re there, what we want to achieve and how we’re going to get it.”

Young people can, and should, play an important role at internationally. But the ‘global governance breakdown’ is offering little hope that our current international institutions are capable ofdeliveringthe policy andpoliticalchange required.

“We have, for years, mistaken access to power with influence over power. We get so orgasmic about sitting at the table - but only lend credibility to decisions of others.”

There is the space for more open, accountable and effective global governance but despite millions of dollars spent each year on ensuring young people are present, their impact is oftentokenisticand failing to deliver the change they want.

“Yes, youth involvement at international summits has got young people round the table, but at the Y20 their table was 1000 miles from that of world leaders.”

“Our cute, “we’re young and the future” simply won’t cut it anymore, and probably never has.”

Through the monthly Critiqueand Dialogue blog, contributors from national governments, global institutions, private foundations, civil society organisations and youth representatives will spark the debate which will be continued through the forums and on twitter.

Theanswers will be hard to find, but we are willing facilitators of this dialogue and want to spark a debate about how the voice of youth can actually influence decision makers leading to policy change.

Featured Image Credit: UN Partnerships