By Michelle Ezeuko,
A review of the United Nations Development Programme Article “Developing Humans – Human Development: Young voices; New Ideas”
The article begins by referencing International youth day and highlighting the new focus of engaging young people better in 2015. They state how the “the development of a number of recent National Human Development Reports have provided young people with such an opportunity” – the opportunity to be heard. The author contemplates why there has been so much recent HDR interest in young people and offers 3 reasons throughout the article.
Reason one states that “Human Development is by definition forward looking”. This means, according to the writer, that young people are the definition of Human Development because they have ‘furthest to look forward’, therefore HDR should include their views.
The second reason states “through demographics the fate of young people is tremendously important to Human Development”. The following figures were given to support the statement. A fifth of the planet are 15-24 year olds of which 85% are in developing countries.
The final reason explained that most policies today will fully take effect in the long-term thus mostly affecting young people in the future. The writer concludes stating “Today’s Policies are often most likely to affect the adults of tomorrow”.
The article then follows on to highlight the importance of giving young people a voice in the development process as well as the importance of International Youth Day. An example is given; the 2008 NHDR “Youth in Turkey”. The report involved 3,000 young people participating in a survey and 24 focus groups organised. The writer states “The report was particularly influential, generating more than a thousand news reports that placed youth issues on the national agenda”.
To conclude, the writer mentions the difficulty of including a youth perspective. He states that it would require “an investment of time and money”, but insists the policies that acknowledge the youth and hear their views will work better and last longer.
My personal perspective.
I completely agree with the article. It makes some great points and I’m sure most young people will say the same as me. We definitely feel like our views are hardly taken into account when it comes to policies as well as politics in general. This the reason why many young people are politically disengaged.
The article speaks of taking young people’s opinions when conducting reports and creating policies that will affect us in the future, but it made me realise how our opinions and views are rarely taken into account when making changes that directly affect us now! For example, there have been some drastic changes made to A-levels and how they are assessed. Although a focus group was conducted in my college which took into account our opinions of the changes, I personally never had my opinion asked for before the changes were made, or any suggestions taken into account of how we would like to learn and be assessed.
For all the reasons highlighted in the article and more, young people deserve to have our voices heard. With so many issues affecting more and more daily (housing crisis, unemployment, and student debts) this change needs to come sooner rather than later.