50% of the world’s population is under the age of 30, yet in the world of politics, young people are conspicuously absent. Governments, political parties, and administrations are regularly accused of ‘gerontocratic’ rule across the globe, as the majority of world leaders are older than the median adult population in their country.
Today’s younger generation is more dissatisfied with democracy relative to their elders and participates less in elections, yet they are active and knowledgeable about democratic processes. The apparent ‘paradox of youth participation’ indicates that young people’s ideas of what political participation means is much broader than only conventional politics, and includes online petitions, social media movements, and other new, alternative and accessible forms of participation.
It is against this backdrop that governments, CSOs, and international organisations working to engage youth in democratic processes have come together to launch the Youth Political and Civic Engagement Cohort as part of the Summit for Democracy’s Year of Action. As co-leaders, AfricTivistes, the European Commission, the European Democracy Youth Network, the European Partnership for Democracy, the governments of Ghana and Nepal hope to use this platform to advocate for the implementation of Summit for Democracy commitments on youth engagement in democratic processes.
The Youth Democracy Cohort will be officially launched during the International Day of Democracy Brussels conference on September 15, 14.00 – 16.00 CET. This session will introduce the Youth Democracy Cohort and discuss avenues for meaningful dialogue and collaboration between many types of actors working to advance democratic participation of youth across the globe. Bringing together youth activists in the EU and globally as well as key decision-makers involved in youth engagement worldwide, this session for debate and collaboration on the issue of youth political engagement will provide the basis for the next steps of the Youth Cohort.
We are excited to have grown the number of members in the Cohort since its inception to include the following organisations, and continue to welcome new members:
Accountability Lab Nepal, ASEAN Youth, Ford Foundation, Horn Peace Institute, IFES, International Republican Institute (IRI), Jeunes et engagés de Madagascar, National Democratic Institute (NDI), One Young World, Restless Development, Save the Children, USAID, Nepal Youth Innovation Lab, International IDEA, Association des Blogueurs de Guinée (ABLOGUI), URU Jeunesse et Leadership, Afrobarometer, Association of Youth Organizations Nepal (AYON), Dialogue Citoyen Senegal, Millennial Action Project, National Youth Council Nepal, Peace and Development Watch Centrafrique, RADDHO, Red Juventud LAC, ROAJELF, Schools of International Futures, UNDI18, d|part, VSO Nepal, and Youth Leadership Parliament Ghana.