With the ‘promise of a better world’ in mind the UN Youth Office has launched an new advocacy campaign – “World Leaders: It’s Time to Let #YouthLead” – calling for greater youth representation in decision-making roles in both the public and private sector, civil society, academia, and the UN. As crises continue to unfold, there has been a lack of unity among world leaders in solving challenges for the “collective good”, the Youth Office said in a letter kickstarting the campaign.

The office says it deems it important to have leaders and institutions include young people in roles where their voices can be heard, or a common future might be at stake. “Putting more diverse perspectives around the decision-making table is the only way to ensure we don’t continue to repeat past mistakes,” the office said in their open letter. “By championing intergenerational solidarity and finding innovative solutions even in the most challenging of circumstances, young people remind us that a better world is still possible.” The office says that hope and trust will be rebuilt and restored when significant youth engagement becomes the norm with the backing of “dedicated resourcing everywhere around the world.”

As the time for the landmark Summit of the Future in September at UN Headquarters draws nearer, the Youth Office is extending an open letter to young people across the globe where they can pen a message to world leaders. During the summit, world leaders will focus on coming to an international consensus on safeguarding the future and tackling the best solution for reclaiming the path of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The office hopes there will be a positive and large response from youth around the world that will push leaders attending the summit to “commit to finally giving young people their rightful seat at the table.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres supports the campaign’s efforts, saying, “I am absolutely committed to bringing young people into political decision-making; not just listening to your views, but acting on them.” Just last year, at the UN’s annual Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum, Mr. Guterres said that young people are key to building a better future, urging governments to consult more with young people – pointing to his UN policy brief, Our Common Agenda, that calls for “inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism to better respond and deliver for the people and planet.”

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs, Felipe Paullier, also supports this advocacy campaign. He said the inclusion of youth in decision-making roles at all levels, “is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal to address the ongoing conflicts, rising geopolitical tensions and increasing uncertainty facing our world today.”

Conversations about this campaign and further discussions about how to create a better tomorrow will begin at this year’s three-day ECOSOC Youth Forum running from, April 16-18, involving a wide range of stakeholders including young people and senior politicians. “We are watching. Don’t let us down”, is the overarching message to governments worldwide.

Source: The UN

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