Voices

The Key to Unlock the Future is Youth

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The future is coming and young people deserve the right to decide which future they will live in. That’s why Girl Up and over a dozen major youth-focused international organizations composed of hundreds of millions of young members worldwide are creating a new coalition to prioritize the needs of next and future generations within the international system. 

Amplifying the voices of a new generation of leaders, activists, and thinkers and their solutions to the world’s most pressing issues, the coalition will explore how to overcome the barriers that prevent young people from acquiring the power and influence to shape their futures as they engage in dialogue across generations.

At Unlock the Future, a virtual event held during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Week, the coalition released their shared statement of ambition in “The Unlock Declaration.”

“At a time when children and young people face challenges and crises not of their making, we—leaders and partners of the world’s most far-reaching youth-focused and youth-led movements, networks, and organizations—are committed to unlocking a better future with and for young people and future generations,” begins the document.

The initial focus of the coalition lies in the following key areas:

  • Voice and representation by ensuring young people from all backgrounds are at the heart of the decision-making process.
  • Resourcing through increased strategic, inclusive and accessible funding for youth-led and youth-focused organizations.
  • Fostering opportunities for development and civic engagement.
  • Advancing shared goals and advocating for aligned policy asks that matter most to young people.

The emergence of this new coalition comes not only as UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls on the UN General Assembly to bridge the intergenerational divide but also as young leaders and activists have injected urgency and momentum into global climate campaigns and COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. 

Along with Girl Up, signatories of The Unlock Declaration include the IFRC, WEF Global Shapers, Scouts, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Restless Development, Global Youth Mobilization, World YMCA and YWCA, BRAC, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. Various other major campaigning organizations are supporting the work or are also close to coming on board as well. 

The creation of a youth council to work alongside the coalition is expected to create considerable scope for high-level advocacy and political impact in the coming years so stay tuned for more updates.

To read The Unlock Declaration and learn more about how we can rejuvenate our societies and institutions by drawing on the ideas, insights, and energy of youth, click here.

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