the power of youth: transforming global decision-making 

By: Results Canada Published: 10/06/2024

Young people are the ones who will live with the consequences of the decisions world leaders make today. Despite this, they are largely absent from decision-making tables. This needs to change. These voices are more crucial now than ever before, as the current global systems and status quo are failing to meet the needs of our populations, particularly the most vulnerable. 

The statistics speak volumes: 

  • 333 million children live in extreme poverty, struggling to survive on less than US$2.15 per day.  
  • Almost 1 billion children face multidimensional poverty, which encompasses not only monetary challenges but also lack of access to education and essential infrastructure services. 
  • 45% of child deaths are due to hunger-related causes. 
  • 40% of un- and under-vaccinated children live in conflict-affected countries. 
  • Over 222 million children in crisis settings lack access to quality education. 

However, these are more than just numbers; they are lives. Lives of potential future leaders. 

Children and youth worldwide possess the knowledge and solutions to tackle these challenges. They consistently demonstrate their willingness and capability to participate in and act upon issues that directly affect them.  

There are numerous examples of young leaders who have made a meaningful and lasting impact on the future, such as Malala Yousafzai, Amanda Gorman, and Autumn Peltier. We need to let young people speak truth to power. They are the ones with everything to gain or lose. 

Canada has significant opportunities to #ReachEveryChild with the necessary protection, health, and decision-making power needed to create a more equitable, and sustainable future for all. We can solidify our legacy as a champion and leader for children and youth in several key areas over the next year:  

  1. Protecting the lives of children and youth in conflict. 
  • Upholding our commitment to international humanitarian law by ensuring humanitarian access, aid, and protection extends to all civilians across all conflicts. 
  • Demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. 
  • Recognizing the unique rights and needs of children living in emergency crises. 
  1. Investing in life-saving services that support the health and well-being of children by 
  • Fully funding Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to ensure children everywhere have access to life-saving vaccines. 
  • Stepping up at the 2025 Nutrition for Growth Summit to address the malnutrition and hunger crisis. 
  • Renewing and maintaining the Charlevoix Declaration to ensure all children – especially girls living in emergency contexts – have access to quality education. 
  1. Shifting power so children and youth always have a seat at the decision-making table by: 
  • Establishing a policy that mandates the inclusion of a child or youth participant in every Canadian global delegation, starting with the Summit of the Future happening this Fall. 
  • Ensuring that all global forums, the G7, and the G20 have a child lens that considers the unique needs of children living in emergency settings. 
  • Committing to focus on children and youth when we host the G7 in 2025. 

Over the next year, Results Canada will focus our advocacy and lend our voice to achieve these goals. In June, we’re working to ensure all future Canadian delegations have a child or youth representative, starting with the Summit of the Future taking place this Fall. Canada has demonstrated its commitment to youth voices before, through the creation and support of the Refugee Education Council, and success stories like these must be replicated in all global forums.  

It is imperative for leaders to meaningfully engage with children and youth, listening to their stories and incorporating their perspectives into policy decisions. Only through a diversity of voices, including age, perspective, and experience, can we hope to collectively solve today’s complex global challenges. 

We are joining forces with youth around the world ahead of the Summit of the Future to let world leaders know it’s time to let #YouthLead. 

a call to action  

Join us this month in urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ensure that Canada's delegation to the upcoming Summit of the Future includes a child or youth representative. This representation should extend to all future global Canadian delegations, providing young people the platform to share their unique experiences and perspectives at decision-making tables.

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Everyday people empowered to generate the political will to end extreme poverty. Change is possible.
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