Utilizing Youth Leadership in Global Governance and Multilateralism
Global catastrophic risk mitigated
Unknown risks
Risk multiplier managed
Conflict or political violence
Institutions that lack inclusivity or accountability
Implementation timeframe
Middle term
This proposal serves to address the issue of youth leadership within the United Nations, and outlines the importance of youth participation in global governance and multilateralism in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Implementation strategy

In order to implement this strategy, it would need coordination from the United Nations, and UN Civil Society. It would require more cohesion across political, institutional, and financial sectors, with various investments being made towards youth development. These investments do not have to be solely financial, but do have to be substantial in order to increase the power of youth leadership over the ten-year implementation period. Investments such as trainings, professional development opportunities for youth, and more comprehensive UN frameworks in utilizing youth leadership in global governance are a few of the alternatives to financial investments. In addition, creating a platform for youth within the UN, similar to the UN Youth Leaders Program or YPP, but more accessible to youth across the globe would be a huge factor in successfully implementing this proposal. By opening doorways for youth, whether it is through a Youth Advisory Board, Youth-led Commission, Youth-Focused Consultations, Youth Forums and Youth-Led Dialogues, we are creating a pathway towards more sustainable leadership modules within the UN. Great leaders do not tell you how it's done, they show you how it's done, and I believe many of the solutions we seek for the SDGS could be found in a room full of young leaders, if only they were given the chance to act, and opportunity to be heard.

Realisation by implementing or making adjustments to current roadmaps

I do believe this proposal could be realized through the 2030 Agenda. Right now, there is a huge push for more youth involvement and youth leadership throughout the United Nations on a whole. This is evident across sectors, from the UN Secretary-General pushing to include youth voices in UN75 dialogues, to creating youth-specific forums such as the ECOSOC Youth Forum, United Nations Youth Plenary, and the UN Youth Climate Summit. We are at a time now where leaders are more willing than ever to hear from youth, but we are failing our youth leaders by not equipping them with the tools they need to bridge connections for themselves within the UN. There are many avenues to explore regarding potential youth leadership roles within the UN, and I think the 2030 Agenda is a great jumping off-point in developing these roles.

Decision makers and implementers

I propose we create a UN Youth Advisory Board, and UN Youth Commission with the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth. The goal of the United Nations Youth Advisory Board, and United Nations Youth Commission is to empower youth voices in global governance. One avenue in achieving this proposal is through what I call the "UN Youth Liaison Officer" program. This program would allow youth the opportunity to work with offices at the United Nations on various issues, and various SDGs. It is my ultimate vision to create a UN where each office has a Youth Liaison Officer serving to connect world leaders with the global youth. By appointing youth figures within this leadership role, the UN has the ability to increase youth representation in both global governance, and multilateralism. I believe with programs such as this, we will be working to close gaps between generations, and building a foundation for better development of tomorrow's leaders.

Mitigating unknown risks

This proposal would contribute to creating resilient, capable, "on alert" multilateral systems of global governance by harnessing the power of youth leadership, and youth development. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and right now we are being failed by the lack of opportunity available to us to participate on the decision-making level. We will ultimately be the ones picking up the pieces of failed policies 20-30 years from now, and all I ask for is for current leaders to include us in the rooms where decisions impacting our futures are currently being made. By including youth in the decision-making process, we are increasing the capacity of global governance by entire generations. By including youth in opportunities for professional development, and offering youth opportunities for rich dialogue with leaders, we are curating a future world with more experienced leadership. There will come a day where youth will no longer be youth, and it is up to us to ensure we are doing everything in our power between now and then to take full advantage of the human capital we are currently squandering. Investing in our youth is investing in our future.

Enhancing inclusivity and accountability in national and global governance

This proposal will enhance inclusivity and accountability in national and global governance because it will be increasing the often under-represented voices of youth. By including youth in decision-making processes, and by offering youth a seat at the table, inclusivity in both national and global governance will only increase. We live at a time where much of the world's younger generations are helpless in creating the future they will live in, but I seek to change that with this proposal. Through Youth Forums, Youth Advisory Boards, and Youth Commissions, there are many opportunities to include younger voices on the pressing issues of today, without sacrificing the expertise of older generations. I believe one of the largest gaps that exists today is the generation gap, and the gap between knowledge and lived experiences between generations. We must offer space to become better co-learners, and co-teachers if we ever want to see a world that is inclusive of all.

Conversing effect in increasing poverty and inequality

I do not believe this proposal would increase poverty or inequality, however I do think it will require a creative use of resources. By creating a uniformed system of global governance based on youth, we are opening more opportunities for equal opportunity across generations. I believe by implementing youth-led structures within the UN, we are also offering the opportunity to decrease poverty by increasing the capacity of the United Nations. Youth can, and should be key actors and key agents of change in accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals. We are, after all, the ones inheriting the world without them, and should be offered the opportunity to build the future we ultimately will wake up in.

Reducing conflict and political violence

In the current political atmosphere, we continue to see youth leaders from across the world advocating for the future they hope to live in. We've seen youth leaders demand climate action, we've seen youth leaders engaged in the fight for gender equality, and have witnessed youth innovations take the world by the storm time and time again. Should youth be offered the formal opportunity to be heard by our global governance system, I think much of the political violence that exists now would transform into greater understanding. There is currently an unequal distribution of power within the UN, with much of the power going to those in leadership positions. However, should the power of the people (and the power of the youth) complement the power of those in charge, I think 25 years from now we will be on a better path towards a better world. We live at a time where we have the greatest ability to make change, but must also recognize that great change is a process, and often a slow-moving one at that. We must create the solutions now for the future we hope to sustain, and equip future leaders (the youth) with the tools they need to succeed well-before they assume positions of power themselves.

Additional information

Attached to my proposal is an international survey I created with over 600 responses from youth in 100+ countries. In the survey, I asked youth what SDG they are most passionate about, and whether or not they would be interested in having their voices heard in a 2020 Youth Resolution. The responses were overwhelming, and I believe this data serves as evidence to support the demand for youth leadership within the UN.

Files attached

YOUTH FOLLOW UP (Responses) - Form Responses 1.pdf

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