TODAY -

Youth and governance : A bird's eye view around the globe
- Part 1 -

Prof. O'Brein *

United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY Peacebuilders)



'Age considers. Youth Ventures".

The world attention over the last few years has focused extensively on the growing global threat of terrorism. There has been little attention and resources directed towards training youth in their respective organisations as the next generation of leaders so as to prevent the social issues that are providing fertile ground for instability. The purpose of this paper is to explore the major challenges and opportunities that youth are presented with to-day and review the key global youth issues with bias towards good governance.

Youth as a concept, varies from culture to culture and from one society to another. The concept is particularly elusive. Youth is a very heterogeneous group encompassing people of various ethnic, religion, race gender and class. The concept of youth is, itself, debated and being redefined by various social and demographic changes in the recenr decases.

Some authors favour biological markers and suggest youth as the period between puberty and parenthood. While others use cultural markers to define youth as distinct social status with accompanying roles, rituals and relationship s. Richard Curtain gives the concept a bit more depth, asserting that youth is a complex interplay of personal, institutional and microeconomic changes that most young people have to negotiate.

Globalization is reshaping life-phase transition and relations between generations and the changes that young people must negotiate do not occur as predictable as in the past. Defining youth globally according to some exact age range, is therefore, an awkward tasks. To this, there are many connotations defining the age groups.

The age range 15-24 is often used by the United Nations and other for statistically purposes, but in many cases the distinction is too narrow. In some developed countries, for example, the male transition to adulthood in terms of achieving the economic and social stability that comes with steady employment may extend into the late twenties.

For some, men in developing countries who have not completed secondary school, the transition for stable work could be taken up around age 35. Therefore, in the Africa context, a youth ranges between 15-35 years. But if one sees from the global level, according to the States of the World Report released in 2003, one fifth of the world's population is between the age of 10 and 19.

Country specific data is also vital to understand recent demographic trends. For example, in Kosovo one half of the population is aged under 20, in Northern Ireland 40% of the population is under 24, 37% in South Africa is under 15 and 19% is aged 15-24. In Gaza and the West Bank, over 50% of the population is under 15. And in Middle East generally, more than 40% of the population is under 15. In Guatemala, 20.3% of the population is aged 15-24 and the percentage is on the rise? In fact, more than any regeneration in history, young people are shaping the global social economic and political landscape that will inherit.

To start with, a few countries before I go to India - Zambia - this country implanted Youth for Governance as part of the youth organisation's mission to promote accountated leadership and to create anti-corruption awareness in Clubs and school. Run in collaboration and partnership in the World Bank Institute (WBI), the project sought to educate young people who aspire to join public office so that they can develop practical skills resist and fight corruption, thereby, playing a positive role in Zambian's development.

The project was designed to reach Zambian high school and college students in close co-operation with the teacher's association. It centred around a six month course, regional seminars throughout the country, and the national workshop. For training, facilitators provided one hour of governance and anti corruption class room lectures to pupils and students of 40 high schools and colleges by which a better understanding of corruption and it causes, manifestations and consequences.

The next on this score, another topic to take into account is 'Democracy and Good Governance' with specific context to South Sudan. Democracy must be based on particular conditions of each society, but also on the shared values of equal dignity and rights of human beings. The notion of good governance and democracy is centre-stage for development.

Good governance has broad principles-Transparency/Accountability/Fiscal Responsibility/good leadership and Respect for Human Rights and Rule of Law. When one talks about youth, governance, it is proper to mention here about U.N Youth Agenda which literally plays a major role in the entire global trend. In fact, a close look at the historical development of the U.N Youth Agenda indicates the relevance of three fundamental base themes to Youth Policies.

Starting in 1965, PEACE, because the theme most closely connected with Youth Policy. In subsequent decades, participation and develop were recognized as key themes of global youth policy. The General Assembly designated 1985, International Youth Year and identified the goals of participation, development, governance peace as priorities.

As a matter of fact, youth being violent, as on today, there is extensive evidence of youth not only being peaceful but of being agents to positive change. However, this phenomenon has not been analysed by academic research. How many young people are violent and how many young people are peace builders. Youth are primary actors in grass roots community development relation. They are the front lines of peace building and Good Governance.

In this context again, the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY Peacebuilders) is a global network of young people and youth organisation active in the field of peacebuildings and conflict transformation. It was founded in 1989 in the Netherlands after a meeting of approximately 40 idealistic youth people from various parts of the world.

It works to enhance the capacities of young people as peacebuilding before institutions such as the United Nations and its agencies and the European Union. It is also engages in a range of additional activities such as networking, sharing of information via e-groups and publication, peer-to-peer support through a pool of resource persons, fund raising and administrative support for small youth peace organisation.

This network shows capacity of the youth to organism in a trans-national network, both to help each other to improve their peacebuilding skills through peer-to-peer learning and exchange as well as to advocate for the inclusion of youth in peace processes.


* Prof. O'Brein wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer is at Department of English, Manipur University
This article was posted on July 29, 2013.


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