Participation & Governance

The youth sector gets its first future policy award - and we need your nominations to make it count

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“Young people are the future” - how often have we all heard this sentence being muttered and have rolled our eyes? And how often have we pointed out in meetings, at conferences and on the streets that too many policies are not futureproof? To change that, the World Future Council (WFC) awards policies for the benefit of present and future generations. This year, the WFC has joined forces with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to award the 2019 Future Policy Award to youth policies, acts, laws or decrees - and you can nominate them until May 31.

Celebrating Laws and Policies for Empowering Youth: The Future Policy Award 2019

The Future Policy Award showcases legislation and policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations. The aim of the award is to raise global awareness for these exemplary laws and policies and speed up policy action towards a healthy planet and just, sustainable, peaceful and prosperous societies, leaving no one behind. The Future Policy Award is the first award that celebrates laws and policies on an international level. Each year the World Future Council focuses on one topic on which policy progress is particularly urgent, and receives nominations from all over the world for laws, policies or legal frameworks that are inspiring, innovative and effective.

In 2019, the World Future Council’s Future Policy Award is working in partnership with Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Youth Policy Labs (yup that is us) to highlight laws and policies that advance youth access to decent jobs, including green jobs and enhance civic and political participation for sustainable development and peace. We in particular want to highlight laws, policies and legal frameworks that foster enabling environments for youth to develop their full potential, realise their dreams and contribute to the success of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Developments Goals.

Empowering the largest group of young people the world has ever seen

A youth is any person between the age of 15 and 24-30 years, regardless of gender. Today, there are 1.8 billion young people - the largest group of young people the world has ever seen. Eighty-seven percent of young people live in the so-called developing world. They are almost three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. Yet young people embody the potential of a society and play a crucial role as key architects of the future of their families, communities and countries. Young people are on the frontlines of political and social change and have the power to renew cultures as well as maintain important traditions. This is why the 2030 Agenda clearly “applies to all of the world’s young people now and to the 1.3 billion young people who will call the world home by 2030, the target date for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals” (United Nations, 2017c). Several SDG goals and targets concern specifically young people. Seen the multiple global challenges we face - climate change, unsustainable food systems, dramatic loss of biodiversity, water scarcity, growing inequalities, conflicts and much more - it is absolutely critical that youth are empowered through inclusive, effective, inspiring and innovative laws and policies that promote their rights and speed up common action. It is also vital that youth effectively participate in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of such laws and policies for example, through parliaments, civil society organizations, and other formal and informal means.

What are we looking for?

Policies, laws and legal frameworks that strengthen younger and future generations’ agency
We seek nominations of impacting policies, laws and legal frameworks that create enabling environments for empowering youth and are replicable under similar circumstance, in two main areas:

  1. Economic empowerment of young women and men in decent and sustainable jobs: This includes youth skills development or apprenticeships or technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes, including for a green economy, i.e. an economy that is sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. It also encompasses youth entrepreneurship and job matching programmes, policies that assist young people to transition to formal economy, i.e. decent and/or green jobs, and programmes targeting particularly vulnerable groups, such as rural youth, young women, young refugees, youth in hazardous occupations and in fragile situations. We are also interested in policies and programmes for a green economy or “green new deals” and the promotion of green jobs for youth, those that develop digital skills for young workers and those that advance gender equality. We also welcome nominations for policies that address the growing mismatch between highly educated young people and low-skills-jobs.
  2. Civic engagement and political participation of youth for sustainable development and peace: This includes policies, laws and legal frameworks that strengthen youth meaningful participation through promoting youth representation in politics and decision-making, and enhancing the integration of youth perspectives at all levels of governance. Furthermore, we are interested in programmes and policies that challenge political apathy, that empower youth to contribute to inclusive political processes and have an active part in design, implementation and monitoring & evaluation, that strengthen citizenship education and community engagement, and/or that establish more efficient channels of official communication and partnership. We also welcome policies and programmes that not only address young people, but also involve decision- and policy-makers.

What and how can you nominate?

You can nominate up to three laws, policies and frameworks can be local, subnational, national or regional in nature until 31 May 2019. The nominated law, policy or legal framework must:

  1. be in existence for long enough (for e.g. 2-3 years minimum) to demonstrate its effective implementation and impact;
  2. deliver identifiable improvements; and
  3. take into account systemic aspects such as sustainable use of resources, equity, and poverty eradication, reflecting the World Future Council’s holistic and integrated perspective.

Step 1. Nominate away!
There is an online form, waiting for your nominations - the deadline is May 31:

Step 2. The Selection Process
The research team will apply the WFC Future Justice Policy Principles and other indices to all nominations. We will then provide a shortlist of laws, policies and legal frameworks for consideration by an international jury of experts in July 2019.

Step 3. Recognition of the winners of the Future Policy Award 2019
The winners of the 2019 Future Policy Award will be celebrated at a high-level award ceremony at IPU’s 141st General Assembly in Belgrade (Serbia) in October 2019, convened by the World Future Council in partnership with IPU and UNDP with the support of UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, ILO and YPL. Typically this Award event is bringing together more than 200 decision-makers, including heads of state, ministers, permanent representatives, parliamentarians, heads of international organisations and leading civil society organisations from across the world.

Team Credits

Researched and written by Judith Meißner, Ole Siever and Marika Welz, based on material co-developed with the team of the World Future Council. Edited by Andreas Karsten.

Image Credits

All images used with permission by the World Future Council.

Full disclosure

Youth Policy Labs is supporting the 2019 Future Policy Award, in particular by providing research on the nominated policies. We receive no funding for this cooperation.


Updated on May 15, 2019 with new nomination deadline, which was May 17 and was extended to May 31.