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Partners for change: Young people and governance in a post-2015 world

“The concept of “Empowering young people” can often be seen as just a tokenistic phrase. However, with the right investment of time, money and goodwill, young people can become powerful agents of change and active citizens.  We have to recognise the particular barriers that young people face and help to abolish them. It requires building skills and it needs genuine commitment”.

ODI’s research explores how evidence from young people’s involvement in governance processes can provide lessons and guidance for the post-2015 framework for sustainable development. This includes understanding its mechanisms to ensure accountability, which can enable active citizen participation by young people, focusing on the role that they can, and should, play. It looks at young people’s participatory governance across different areas, including education, anti-corruption, local decision-making on young people’s issues, and environmental awareness. It demonstrates that young people are interested and engaged in the various thematic issues that affect their lives and their communities, and can participate as active citizens in national and local governance processes to help achieve better outcomes for all.

By looking across a variety of cases, the report discusses how, by building on these experiences, young people can contribute to critical debates at the global and national levels over the course of the post-2015 process and the development of the framework. More importantly, it discusses how young people can be involved in the implementation of the framework, particularly with respect to the roll-out of goals and policy commitments at the national and local levels, where they affect their lives more directly.

The timing of this report is therefore not accidental. The decisions made and commitments agreed through the post-2015 process over the coming years will have a significant impact on the young people of today, and will continue to affect them as they become adults. Consequently, their engagement in and contribution to the achievement of these goals and targets is vital.

Young people’s participation can improve governance processes, particularly at the local and national levels, thereby securing more effective outcomes in the short term while developing active citizens over the long term. The report identifies ways in which young people are currently involved in the post-2015 agenda setting process and why they should continue to be engaged, making some specific evidence-based recommendations about young people’s involvement in the post 2015 process.


Paola Pereznieto

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