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Inclusive Youth Participation at All Levels, a Necessity for a Sustainable World #WCY2014

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Years ago when female activism and gender equality campaigns started, policy makers came to a realization that the world has lost viable resources and expertise by downplaying the role of the female gender, hampering, a better development for our world. The United Nations in response to this realization put gender equality and promoting of rights of women as a core content of its Millennium Development Goals (MDG-2). MDG-2 has provided hopes for many unreached females around the world, giving females a space in classrooms, 35% representation quota in parliament and government appointments as well as a transcending from being bedroom sex objects to boardroom commanders.

Over the course of the implementation of the MDGs, youth development and activism have grown immensely. Many indicators and realities pointed to the enormous development capacities resident in young people, only if given the opportunity in the form of inclusion. The enormous energy in youth can be channelled from violence, and other anti-social behaviours and funnelled to fuel development agendas, hence, the need for a global call for youth inclusion at all levels.

At every stage of policy making cum implementation, youth should be included, ranging from consultation to drafting and eventually implementation. This is because any short or long-term development agenda or framework will have a magnificent effect on youth. Calling to mind that the versatility of youth transcends cultures, traditions, race or geographic location, the earlier full inclusion starts, the closer would all round development be seen!

Furthermore, the realization and implementation of any global development agenda will be carried out by youth. Noting that the youth of the pre-MDG era are the elders and leaders of the MDG era, consequently, the youth of the MDGs era would be the leaders of the post-2015 epoch. Consequently, the inclusion of youth in the creation of the kind of future that will have, is one of the greatest partnerships for development of this age.

Leadership and governance has been at the centre of our human lives. The style of leadership, the allocation of resources, and the sharing of the wealth of nations is encapsulated in governance. Youth should be included in leadership, governance. Just as women have 35% quota in political appointments, youth too should have a minimum of 20% in all government appointments, committees, etc. based on their skills and experience set. The ministry of youth in each country should be youth-led. According to economist.com in 2011, western leaders are getting younger as their countries age, an indication that the cult of youth leadership is flowering.

Inclusion is not exclusive of economic empowerment. Creating a good business and job creation environment for youth are themselves economic inclusions. Tackling the increasing unemployment rate among youths and promoting entrepreneurship through the establishment of more business and technology incubation centres, provision of access to trainings and funds necessary for the success of youth-led enterprises are a requirement. Through economic youth inclusion, poverty, hunger, and youth unemployment can be tackled effectively.

Misdirected youthful energy has been the fuel of violence and terrorism around the world. Terrorism runs on the system that makes unsuspecting youth in search of inclusion and self-expression relevant; as a result, channelling their energy to the destructive tyranny of conflict and terrorism. Youth inclusion at every level especially in peace keeping and conflict resolution will in no small measure quench the blazing inferno that terrorism and violence has caused and is causing our world.

The Post-2015 agenda would be ambitious, achievable but imperfect and unsustainable if it lacks the great element of youth inclusion at all levels. The Rio+20 conference has echoed this, the UN-Secretary General High Level Panel of Post-2015 has re-echoed and youth from around the world would be lending their voice to it at the World Congress of Youth 2014 (#WCY2014). 20% inclusion at all levels is what we want, youths are done being mere observers. It’s our World, let’s create the #WorldWeWant 2015.

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