International Partnerships

#YourVoiceYourFuture: young people want more say in political decision-making

News 22 January 2021 Brussels

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An overwhelming majority (91%) of young Africans and Europeans would like to be more involved in political decision-making, but most (59%) have no direct access to policymakers.  

The findings are included in the newly released report #YourVoiceYourFuture that brings together results from four U-Report polls run in Africa and Europe. In the polls, 450,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 35 voiced their views on key topics that affect their future.

Children and young people make up a quarter of the world population, and have a right to be heard on the issues that affect their lives. With the #YourVoiceYourFuture campaign, the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) joined forces with UNICEF to explore new ways to engage with them directly.

The topics covered by the polls were climate change and green transition, digital transformation and social infrastructure, education, skills and decent jobs, and governance, peace and security. Some of the main findings are as follows.

  • 59% of the young people surveyed identified a lack of access to policymakers as the biggest barrier to their involvement in decision-making.
  • 75% of the respondents say they face barriers to accessing the internet. The main limiting factors are the high cost of data (38%), inability to afford internet devices (29%), and the lack of electricity (40%).
  • 88% say they feel responsible for tackling climate change, while 71% want to play a role in the green transition.
  • 43% see inadequate funding for education and 17% its poor quality as obstacles to creating a better future for themselves.

The polls were conducted between July and September 2020 through U-Report, a digital youth engagement platform developed by UNICEF and partners. Most respondents were from Africa, as the continent has more U-report platforms and U-reporters than Europe. On average, 68% of the responses were from boys and young men and 32% from girls and women.

The results of the campaign are expected to inform the agenda of the Africa-Europe Youth Summit 2021, and ultimately to feed into the next AU-EU Summit of Heads of States and Governments.