“We collect input from the often unheard voices of marginalised, rural communities, and facilitate youth led actions to find climate and environmental solutions.” (Sohanur from Bangladesh)
“We have started ‘Youth Cities’ Learning Exchanges & Development Dialogues’ themed to create inclusive urban spaces where young people are included in the newly created city decision making to highlight and contribute to building the cities they want” (Joanita from Uganda)
“We formulated a Youth Climate Action Plan that is going to directly feature in the City of Johannesburg’s Climate Action Plan. In this contribution, youth will be involved in moving towards a healthier and more sustainable future.” (Tyler from South Africa)
These are just some of the quotes from our spotlight session during the Youth at Heart Virtual Forum, organized by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) early November. The forum was organised to boost the movement of international actors investing in the prospects of young people. It focussed on and included many youths from the Middle East and Africa. Especially during the COVID-19 crisis, many of them face challenges and opportunities related to education, youth-led change, youth participation, mental health and entrepreneurship. The We Are Tomorrow (WAT) Global Partnership was invited to share their stories of struggle and success with youth participation globally. You can check it out here.
As becomes clear from the quotes, our partners play a key role in connecting the voice of the youth and translating these into valuable contributions for policy making on local and national levels. With a lot of dedication, they organize the youth in their country and, together, advocate for more ambitious, youth-inclusive climate policies. This willingness to act is especially noteworthy for youth, as they often are studying and working meanwhile, and cannot always rely on a vast network.
The WAT Global Partnership gives youth a voice in shaping their own future, in a world where they seldomly have the opportunity to do so. We aim to bundle the energy of the youth from all over the world, who are all pushing for more ambitious NDCs in their respective countries. Together, we strive to improve international collaboration and to ensure youth participation at all policy levels. Because we are the future. We are tomorrow.
The MFA recognizes this need and cooperated with Restless Development, a youth-led development agency, to develop the Youth at Heart Principles:
“These principles are a call to action for governments, civil society, private and public sector, bi- and multilaterals and knowledge institutions to invest in the prospects of young people so that they can build a better, more resilient world and to work in partnership with young people:”
- Build a more relevant, sustainable and effective enabling environment for education and work systems for young people, that recognise their rights and will;
- Involve young people at all levels in decision making processes that will affect their lives;
- Partner with young people to build a better, more resilient world for all generations.
The principles greatly align with the work of the WAT Global Partnership. The practices of the partners each demonstrate their capacities and readiness to become involved in all levels of decision-making processes and to collaborate with any other organization willing to create a better future.
How will you contribute?