Last week I was among the 700 participants from 160 countries gathered in Baku, Azerbaijan with for the First Global Forum on Youth Policies. Government officials, U.N. representatives, experts, practitioners and young people deliberated policy matters of the world’s youth — a demographic that constitutes a quarter of the global population and represents the largest generation in human history.
The forum, a first of its kind, was co-convened by several parties including the Office of the U.N. Envoy on Youth, UNESCO, UNDP and the Council of Europe to deliberate national and global youth policy: why they matter, what elements they should contain and issues they should address, how they should be implemented.
Why? It is (or should be) a no-brainer. More than 85 percent of our young people live in developing countries, emerging economies and fragile states. Without question, their fate is highly consequential to the landscape and trajectory of international economics, politics and security. At a time when inequality within and between nations is untenable, Magdy Martínez-Solimán, U.N. assistant secretary-general and former Spanish deputy minister for youth, lauded the ability of youth policies to promote inclusion.
“A national youth policy is essential as a social investment that provides opportunity, protects the most vulnerable of our young citizens, and strengthens the community,” she said. “It makes societies more equal.”
Read the full post from CSIS senior associate, Nicole Goldin, on Devex.