A more sustainable future depends on elevating the role of children & youth in societies. Our work supporting the engagement and societal empowerment of children & youth is fundamental to the IAYG family’s worldwide mandate as the champion of global opportunity for all young people. The IAYG family and its partners’ commitments focus on extending the engagement and role of young people across every sector – civil society, business, government, and education – with a particular focus on young people in sustainable development and community change.
Primary Sectors of Work
Every child deserves a place in the world
Today, there are more than 3.5 million children & youth. They represent almost unimaginable potential – potential to build and lead better, more sustainable, more connected communities. They can be catalytic actors towards stronger societies with more effective governance institutions. And societies count on them to improve human development and the quality of life for all people.
However, to realize this incredible potential, young people need a place in the societies they will lead. That means expanding the engagement of young people at all levels of society. Children and youth deserve access to governing institutions and a role in sustainable political systems because the decisions those institutions make matter deeply to them. Their right to participate needs to be universally defined and defended. Young people need to be treated as critical stakeholders in civil society and advocacy movements. And the list goes on: from the role of children & youth as economic actors, in improving corporate governance, and improving business commitments to youth, to their potential as community leaders, unleashing the potential of children and youth requires elevating their place in society.
The role of young people in advancing sustainable development is of particular importance. Already, young people are driving innovation for sustainable development, taking efforts to advance community and national development, and organizing for impact. However, significant progress remains in engaging young people on action for sustainable development – and reaching all populations of children & youth is critical to achieving national and global sustainable development goals.
Transforming the engagement of young people in societies across the world is fundamental to the IAYG family’s mandate of expanding global opportunity and the ability of young people to engage, participate, and lead in a changing world. Our approach to elevating the engagement of youth in societies incorporates state and non-state actors in every sector of society and centres on giving young people a more expansive voice in community decisions, more opportunities for engagement and participation within societal institutions, and more influence over their lives.
To do this, the IAYG family supports education for civic and societal engagement as one of the world’s most prominent institutions advancing civic and global citizenship education, works with partners to expand the place of children & youth in decision-making in both public and private sectors, directly creates opportunities for engagement through IAYG-backed community programmes that facilitate the participation of youth in civic and societal functions, and mobilizes young people in action for community change. We support governments and communities in their efforts to build resilient, engaged, and connected youth populations, with a particular emphasis on protecting the rights of girls, minority groups, and other marginalized populations of youth. We build and lead coalitions that bring together institutions and organizations at all levels of society and in every sector, including governments, civil society, and the corporate sector, to expand the engagement of young people and further their potential as societal participants. And we believe in engaging young people not just as participants, but as leaders – a promise that we act on as one of the world’s most prominent catalytic actors for youth-led organizations and youth civil society groups in community levels worldwide. Our role as one of the foremost sponsors of youth-driven civil society is built out of our commitment to advancing the role of children & youth at the forefront of community change.
This includes advancing the role of young people in sustainable development. In our capacity as the champion of a generation of globally engaged young people, we work with public and private-sector actors engaged in sustainable development to jointly further the impact of young people. Through CYCLE, we mobilize and support some of the largest networks and organizational efforts to engage youth in national development goals. And through Juvenext and the IAYG family’s youth-focused innovation initiatives, we identify, support, and scale promising youth-driven innovation for sustainable development. In 2019 and 2020, the IAYG family will vastly extend our commitment to supporting young people in action on community and national sustainable development, including building stronger relationships with agencies and institutions driving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The IAYG family’s work in this sector is closely related to our work defending children’s right to participate, advancing the place of young people in advocacy and civil society, supporting the role of youth in upholding sustainable political systems, extending youth service, and investing in youth leadership. Click here to learn more about how the IAYG family is advancing the place of young people at every level.