ICYMI: The Summit for Democracy Can Only Be a Success If It Focuses on Youth

Democracy took a hit over the last year and youth are suffering the consequences. As freedom declined globally, so too did young peoples’ satisfaction with democracy, increasingly believing their voices are not being heard by decision makers. Youth are not only victims of the democratic recession, they are also a key part of the solution to reversing it. If the Summit for Democracy (S4D) wants to contribute to this broader aim, it must harness the ideas and energy of young people. This week’s celebration of International Democracy Day should be a call to action for Summit organizers and policymakers to hone plans for engaging youth in this important process.

The Summit for Democracy (S4D) – while not perfect – provides an important process through which young people can mobilize to renew democracy around the world.  The Youth Cohort – one of many emerging groups engaging in the lead up to the second S4D – is a collection of government and civil society organizations (CSOs) that support the participation of young people in the “Year of Action.”

It will be impossible for world leaders to achieve the Summit’s goals – fighting corruption, countering authoritarianism, and promoting human rights – without drawing on the energy, creativity and positivity of younger generations who are not just the future, but the present – and are key voices for change. However, young people  need adequate space and accessible platforms to do so…

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