MY World is a global survey for citizens led by the United Nations and partners. It aims to capture people’s voices, priorities and views; so that global leaders can be informed as they begin the process of defining the new development agenda for the world. Through creative online and offline methods, MY World asks individuals which six of sixteen possible issues they think would make the most difference to their lives. The sixteen issues have been built up from the priorities expressed by poor people in existing research and polling exercises and they cover the existing Millennium Development Goals, plus issues of sustainability, security, governance and transparency.
Globally, over 3.5 million people have participated in the My World Survey, which makes one in every 2000 people. From this, close to 2.7 million are young people below the age of 30 that have voted in this survey. The young people in India have conducted the survey in rural communities, slums, schools and youth clubs. They have not only voted themselves but also brought in the voices of the most marginalized groups. From a total of 600,000 votes from India, young people have contributed 500,000 votes. The most crucial component is the unpacking of the votes where young people put jobs as the foremost priority, followed by better education, health care, water, host responsive government and gender equality respectively. For India, it is not only important to value their voices but also leverage on their actions and partnerships.
On this International Youth Day, we make a call to the government of India to strengthen accountability to and with the youth and strengthen inclusive youth participation from local, sub-national and national levels. It is vital that the present youth policy is implemented with adequate resource and structures and mechanisms that strengthen youth engagements at all levels. A call to strengthen young women’s leadership and engagement at all levels is vital to eliminate gender equality in India in all its shapes and forms. Furthermore, the government of India should ensure that an inclusive youth development and participation agenda is rolled out where special efforts are made to reach out to youth from minority groups, indigenous youth, youth for disabilities, LGBTQI youth and others. The GOI should embrace inclusive use of technology to reach out and engage with young people both using online and offline strategies, thereby bridging the technology gap.
The Indian government should make efforts to work closely with the UN system and strengthen youth participation in the UN System Wide Action Plan to be implemented at national level including an establishment of a youth advisory board. The Government of India should embrace the UN’s youth delegate’s program and nominate representatives to the GA through an open transparent process. The Indian Government should work with the BRICS mechanism to strengthen youth engagement across BRICS countries and also increase their investment in youth employment, entrepreneurship and skill building. The youth skills have been identified as the core to changing their and their communities’ conditions. Finally, the Indian government should join this global call for establishing the Global Youth Skills Day. Most importantly, a youth mechanism should be created at the Prime Minister’s office to monitor the progress of deliverables on youth with their participation.
About the author: Ravi Karkara is the Global Adviser Youth & Strategic Partnerships for UN Millennium Campaign and UN Habitat