From 28th October 2014, just under 200 youth, 200 UN & Intergovernmental Agency and 120 Government representatives descended on Baku, Azerbaijan for the United Nations' first Global forum on youth policy.
One thing was abundantly clear from the discussions had with every person at the event; youth employment is definitely one of the world’s most critical and central issues. It underpins a global epidemic of personal financial unsustainability and poverty, scarring (lost future income), crime, drug use, terrorism, poor education, and various other social issues that “privileged” countries, such as Australia, see only in small pockets. In rural and remote communities Australia experiences just some of these issues, whereas in places, like Greece and many African nations, high instances are commonplace.
I found it fascinating to be confronted at this very international event with a little (initial) negativity around the perceived exclusivity and elitism of the G20, it’s “wealthy” member states, and some “successful” entrepreneurs. I hope that by the end of the forum through my panel, hundreds of conversations and ongoing online communication; I have been able to convey that we are here to help.
We are here to help those with fewer opportunities everywhere in the world, both in our countries and beyond our borders. I believe that it is only with an expressive and loud message of inclusion and collaboration, matched with tangible actions, that the world will ever rid itself of poverty and all associated negative outcomes. I’ve now heard the words “nothing about us without us” used in so many different contexts, such as about youth, women or minorities. It is time to start using these words about any and all decision making processes; for example recipients of development spending.
Photo Credit: Ban-Kai-Moon