Now up on Devex: A push for youth policy

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

Where’s the Economic Opportunity for the World’s Youth: Findings from the Global Youth Wellbeing Index

Students attend a maths class in Bosso, Nigeria. Thirty Nigerian refugees are studying at the school in addition to 300 Niger children.

Students attend a math class in Bosso, Nigeria. Thirty Nigerian refugees are studying at the school in addition to 300 Niger children. Photo taken from UNHCR’s flickr photostream used under a creative commons license.

By Nicole Goldin

Economic opportunity is a critical driver of individual and family security, and national growth, development and social progress. Harnessing the capacity of youth in particular, as producers and consumers, can be a boon to both national and the global economy alike. Yet around the world, youth in developed and emerging economies continue to face significant barriers to fulfill their economic promise and prospects. Around the world, young people are up to 4 times more likely to be unemployed than the general working population, with global youth unemployment rising above 13%, up from 11.5 percent in 2007. Less than 40% of youth worldwide are banked.

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index, released in April by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the International Youth Foundation (IYF) with principal funding from Hilton Worldwide, economic opportunity was one of six domains and sub-indices included. The Index considers the state of youth in 30 countries around the world, which hold nearly 70 percent of the world’s youth population. Of the forty indicators that comprise the Index, seven make up the economic opportunity domain: GDP per capita; economic climate and competitiveness; youth lending from a financial institution; youth involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity; youth unemployment; youth not in education, employment, or training (NEET), and youths’ income and wealth expectation. Continue reading