📢 Young people have the right to #BeSeenBeHeard in politics, but our political systems remain unfit for this vision!
— UN Youth Envoy (@UNYouthEnvoy) May 11, 2022
“With the climate crisis, global conflict and generational inequalities running rampant, the inputs, perspectives and representation of youth are needed more than ever”, the press release reads.
The campaign seeks to raise the voice of millions of young people in over 75 countries across six continents.
Leaders ‘messed things up’ for the planet
To understand preconceptions and structural barriers preventing young people from participating in public life, the Be Seen Be Heard: Understanding young people’s political participation report, also released on Wednesday, not only presents a snapshot but makes recommendations to address these challenges.
The report supports the fact that there is a chronic lack of faith in political systems but a clear appetite for more youth representation from all age groups.
It details that 82 per cent of people around the world think the political system needs drastic reform to be fit for the future, and nearly 70 per cent feel that young people should have more say.
Three quarters of those under age 30 feel that politicians and business leaders have ‘messed things up’ for people and the planet and are ready for change.
Moreover, two in three people also disagree with the age balance in politics and 8 in 10 uphold that the ideal first-time voting age should be 16 to 18 – even though most countries restrict it to 18 or over.
Recent data shows that although almost half the world’s population is under 30, they make up only 2.62 per cent of global parliamentarians and that the average age of a world leader is 62.
Youth participation is key
Ms. Wickramanayake underlined the importance of including youth in the decision-making to fight the mistrust towards political institutions and alienation from elected leaders.