Yesterday, Francis and I went to the Presentation of the World Youth Report 2007. For the main website of LWF (www.lutheranworld.org) I put together a formal report. Here is it:
“There has never been a generation that was more likely to volunteer and be involved in community causes than this one,” said Patience W. Stephens, the head of the UN focal point on youth introducing the United Nations World Youth Report 2007. She spoke at a presentation organized by the Youth Committee of CONGO (Conference of NGOs at the UN). Youth is defined by the UN as 15-24 years old. In 2007, more than 1.2 billion people belonged to this age group. That was 18 percent of the overall global population and 25 percent of the working age population.
Stephens explained that young people are the least likely to be content with bad living conditions and little opportunities. Communities worldwide could use the immense energy of young people to break through to new stages of development. For this, they would need to let young people fully participate and give them good opportunities. Many young people – including those from poor backgrounds – are willing to be highly involved in community activities.
However, Stephens pointed out if young people are not given good opportunities they are looking for other ways to escape the conditions that they face. Therefore, young people are the ones who are most likely to migrate defying all risks and dangers. In most cases, they then find themselves on the margins of the society of the country of destination – lacking proper knowledge of the local language and are often seen as competition on the labor market.
In addition, young people are the ones who recruited the easiest for fighting in armed conflicts.
Stephens echoing the World Youth Report 2007, called upon governments to expand the educational opportunities of young people and to make the transition to the labor market smoother than it currently is. That again demands special attention to young women. In most regions, they are more disadvantaged than young men.
The World Youth Report is published bi-annually by the UN focal point on youth and can be ordered and downloaded at www.un.org/youth
The Blog of the Lutheran World Federation is running a series about the findings of the World Youth Report in the world regions: www.lwfyouth.org