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.
The Youth Sounding Board is a space for young people to have an influence on EU external action and international partnerships.
European Year of Youth 2022: EU adopts the first Youth Action Plan in EU External Action to strengthen engagement with young people worldwide
Today, the Commission and the High Representative adopted the Youth Action Plan in the European Union external action for 2022-2027, the first-ever policy framework for a strategic partnership with young people around the world to build a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.
International Democracy Day: Commission launches Youth Participation Cohort to promote democracy worldwide
Marking the International Day of Democracy and the European Year of Youth, the European Commission launched today the Youth Political and Civic Engagement Cohort to support young people in promoting democracy locally and globally.
European Year of Youth: 25 young people selected to be part of EU’s Overseas Countries and Territories Youth Network
The European Commission announced today the 25 members of the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) Youth Network.