Young people are key drivers of positive change and essential partners to advance sustainable and inclusive development.
There are over 1.8 billion young people in the world today, 90% of whom live in developing countries. In Africa alone, three-quarters of the population is below 35.
Nearly all policy decisions have an impact on youth. It is therefore fundamental to ensure that young people’s perspectives are taken into consideration in those decisions.
However, despite the clear benefits of engaging with children and youth, they are often excluded from political, economic and social decision-making processes on issues that affect them and their future. Girls and young women, and young people with disabilities, are particularly disadvantaged, further exacerbating inequalities.
Youth should be at the centre of everything we do - this is fundamental to build stronger, more legitimate, inclusive, peaceful and democratic societies, where human rights and the rule of law are respected. This is clearly recognised in the Council Conclusions on Youth in External Action, the European Consensus on Development and in the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024.
Programmes and initiatives
The EU supports partner countries to review and design policies to promote young people’s well-being and rights, and facilitate their inclusion in social, civic and economic life.
Youth Sounding Board
The Youth Sounding Board is a space for young people to have an influence on EU external action and international partnerships.
Overseas Countries and Territories Youth Network
Youth Democracy Cohort
DEAR: Development Education and Awareness Raising Programme
AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub
Commissioner Urpilainen appoints new Special Adviser on Youth from the Latin American and Caribbean region
Natalia Gómez Solano from Costa Rica has been appointed as the new Special Adviser on Youth to the EU with a one-year mandate starting on 1 April following endorsement by the College of Commissioners.
Second edition of EU Youth Sounding Board for International Partnerships: Applications are open!
Applications are open to participate in the next generation of the EU Youth Sounding Board for International Partnerships. The board will advise the European Commissioner and Commission Directorate-General for International Partnerships on youth participation and empowerment in EU external action.
Summit for Democracy: EU launches milestone programmes to empower youth as key actors of democracy
At the Summit for Democracy, Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen launched two main components of the Women and Youth in Democracy Initiative (WYDE) and welcomed the Youth Participation Handbook produced by the Youth Political and Civic Engagement Cohort.