UN DESA Coverage Temporary No. 149: Selling Youth Participation in Determination-Making and Public Service Supply via Harnessing Digital Applied sciences


Public establishments are confronted with far-reaching and sophisticated challenges in constructing an inclusive and resilient post-COVID-19 society, starting from public well being and employment to schooling and social safety. These are coupled with different urgent challenges towards attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Improvement, together with poverty eradication, local weather change in addition to vitality and meals crises. As governments alone can not successfully reply to those multi-faceted challenges and “participation is a key dimension of governance and one of many pillars of sustainable growth”, collaborating with different stakeholders together with the personal sector, consultants, civil society organizations, volunteers and native communities is ever extra vital. By forging partnerships and collaboration, public establishments can harness the concepts, expertise and assets of numerous stakeholders to raised ship their insurance policies in transformative methods and deal with their gaps in monetary, human and technical assets. This requires a shift in public governance towards inclusive and participatory governance the place residents, together with youth, actively interact and take part in coverage processes and act as co-creators of presidency insurance policies and providers.

The energetic engagement of youth in sustainable growth efforts is central to attaining sustainable, inclusive and secure societies by 2030. The World Programme of Motion for Youth and the UN Youth Technique enshrine engagement and participation as key pillar of the UN decision-making and actions associated to youth growth. The ECOSOC Youth Discussion board accentuates the position of youth within the monitoring, assessment and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Improvement and the achievement of the Sustainable Improvement Objectives (SDGs) as its predominant focus and supplies a world platform for youth to voice their opinions, share concepts and suppose collectively in regards to the methods to realize the 2030 Agenda. The Report of the United Nations Secretary-Common “Our Frequent Agenda” additionally highlights youth participation in considered one of its 12 commitments, stating, “Delivering on the priorities of younger folks and meaningfully together with them in decision-making are investments that can ship instant returns, in addition to construct human capital and social cohesion for the long run.” Youth participation is vital to selling intergenerational fairness, which is among the 11 Rules of Efficient Governance for Sustainable Improvement. Certainly, many authorities insurance policies at this time can have a far-reaching impression for younger generations within the coming years.

With their progressive concepts and expertise, youth are essential drivers of innovation, recreation changers, and members in coverage processes in any respect ranges. Younger folks can create progressive options, volunteer to help folks in susceptible conditions and construct the resilience of native communities, as witnessed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic response course of. Youth-led options in varied areas, together with well being and wellbeing, local weather motion and biodiversity, and meals safety, which have been showcased throughout the #YouthLead Innovation Pageant and Options Marketing campaign organized by the United Nations Workplace of the Secretary-Common’s Envoy on Youth in 2021, have proven that younger individuals are “on the frontlines of growing new options and pillars of their communities”. Youth participation can also be important for selling inclusiveness of coverage processes, rising legitimacy and possession of coverage selections, holding governments accountable to their selections, and enhancing belief in authorities.

This Coverage Temporary examines how public establishments can extra successfully interact youth and promote their participation in decision-making and public service supply to construct extra inclusive and resilient societies. It first examines the challenges public establishments face in meaningfully participating youth in decision-making and public service supply, in addition to the behaviors and traits of younger folks that may be related to coverage dialogue and participation. It then explains how digital applied sciences may be harnessed to successfully interact younger folks in decision-making and delivering public providers. Lastly, it supplies a set of coverage suggestions on how public establishments can overcome engagement challenges and construct an enabling ecosystem for youth participation.

Addressing the Challenges of Youth Participation: Digital Applied sciences as an Enabler

To advertise youth participation in public governance, public establishments want to remodel the best way they work together and have interaction with younger folks and empower them to completely unleash their potential. There are a number of challenges and limitations to public participation of youth, together with the dearth of curiosity, low consciousness on the obtainable alternatives and channels of participation, lack of understanding and expertise, absence of incentives, and lack of belief in authorities, amongst others. Institutionalized mechanisms and platforms for interacting and meaningfully participating with youth are additionally typically absent or insufficient. In the meantime, younger folks could not understand their very own potential as essential drivers of change and transformation. It’s subsequently essential for public establishments to design progressive methods and approaches to handle these challenges and higher interact with youth. To design efficient youth engagement methods, governments ought to have a transparent understanding of how younger folks talk, behave and have interaction with others with a view to tailor their engagement strategies to younger folks’s wants.

Many younger individuals are thought-about “digital natives” by advantage of their age and early expertise with expertise. Digital applied sciences have develop into the most important communication channels of youth nowadays, particularly with younger folks quickly embracing new digital instruments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN E-Authorities Survey 2020 highlighted that younger individuals are the driving drive behind digitalization and innovation, contributing towards larger openness to and engagement in a data-driven and information-oriented future. Moreover, the 2020 World Youth Report additionally prompt that the adoption of digital applied sciences has a constructive correlation with the extent of utilization of the abilities and potentials of youth (See Determine 1).

Youth on the whole have larger entry to digital applied sciences and digital expertise in comparison with different age teams. Youth are utilizing the Web greater than the remainder of the inhabitants, though the digital divide nonetheless poses a problem to the younger folks in lots of growing international locations, particularly within the Least Developed International locations (LDCs) (See Determine 2). You will need to word {that a} substantial variety of younger folks in growing international locations nonetheless lack digital entry and digital literacy. The 2020 World Youth Report additionally highlights, “The elevated deal with new applied sciences pushed by the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution shouldn’t obscure the elemental aim of offering common Web entry – a necessary step in the direction of narrowing the digital divide.”

Understanding the Behaviors and Traits of Youth for Efficient Coverage Communication and Engagement

To advertise efficient youth engagement in public governance, it’s important to know the behaviors and traits of younger folks in communication and participation and tailor the coverage dialogue and engagement methods and channels accordingly. The stylized research on the communication and engagement behaviors and traits of younger folks can shed essential gentle in designing and implementing authorities coverage communication and engagement methods focused for youth. Whereas these behaviors and traits are outstanding options of younger folks on the whole, they seem frequent throughout totally different social segments as properly, not unique solely to youth. Additionally it is worthy of word that these behaviors and traits will not be relevant to the entire youth group and will range relying on totally different backgrounds and contexts. The next checklist highlights a few of the youth’s behaviors and traits.

Requesting immediate and instant responses: Younger individuals are used to instantaneous communications and like to obtain fast suggestions. On this regard, offering immediate or real-time responses is vital when interacting with youth.

Preferring simply accessible, pleasant and progressive contents: Younger folks want contents which are simply accessible and offered in a pleasant, enjoyable and artistic manner. Subsequently, utilizing visual-oriented, intuitive and interactive supplies with clear and easy messages can be an essential technique for communication with youth.
Being inclined to casual and non-institutionalized types of participation: The modalities of youth participation are more and more turning into casual or unconventional, and younger individuals are extra inclined to non-institutionalized channels of political participation. For instance, younger folks want to make use of social media as an essential place to voice their issues about social points.

Anticipating short-term and concrete penalties of participation: Youthful generations are extra appealed to short-term and case-oriented sorts of participation, and they’re eager to the short-term penalties of their resolution. Additionally, concrete penalties of participation are essential for younger folks, as the dearth of instant and particular outcomes after participation could make them suppose that their participation just isn’t duly acknowledged and doesn’t result in precise impression.

Being motivated by rewards: Younger individuals are extremely delicate to rewards. On this regard, offering rewards can strengthen the motivation of younger folks to take part within the coverage processes.

Extremely influenced by friends in social networks: Younger individuals are extra influenced by social teams and peer relationships than older age teams and tremendously affected by the social norms and feelings emanating from social interactions. On this regard, socializing with friends and gaining peer recognition may be thought-about an essential motivation and reward for younger folks’s participation.

Feeling sturdy attachment to particular person id and self-expression: Id and self-presentation are of major concern to younger folks, and younger folks typically experiment with their identities and self-presentation with others on-line. Contemplating this conduct, engagement and participation methods that may acknowledge particular person id and improve the sense of particular person possession to at least one’s concepts and participation could also be notably engaging to younger folks.

Being aware of belief: Belief in public establishments is a vital concern to younger folks in regard to their participation in public governance, whereas the current developments present that youth’s belief in authorities has decreased since 2006 within the majority of OECD international locations. Thus, the methods for youth engagement and participation have to be geared towards restoring and strengthening younger folks’s belief in public establishments.

Harnessing Digital Applied sciences for Selling Youth Participation

Efficient youth engagement in decision-making and public service supply requires that governments have a eager understanding of younger folks’s calls for and priorities. It necessitates efficient communication channels to lift consciousness and inform youth of presidency insurance policies that have an effect on their lives. It additionally requires putting in mechanisms to facilitate youth’s participation in coverage consultations and decision-making in addition to processes for co-designing and co-creating insurance policies and providers. Expertise has proven that digital applied sciences may be leveraged via e-participation within the 4 areas as proven under.

Understanding the calls for and priorities of youth

An acute and well timed understanding of the distinctive wants and priorities of youth is a vital prerequisite for successfully addressing the challenges of youth and fostering their participation within the coverage processes by offering alternatives and contents that are related and of curiosity to them. That is notably essential as younger folks’s challenges, wants and priorities are sometimes not static however constantly altering and evolving, and younger folks represent a heterogeneous group with a number of components of id and experiences. Sure teams, reminiscent of youth with disabilities, younger ladies, younger refugees and indigenous youth, face a mess of vulnerabilities with distinct wants and priorities.
Leveraging digital applied sciences could make it attainable for public establishments to determine and analyze the distinctive calls for and priorities of youth in an efficient and well timed manner.

Significantly, interactive platforms reminiscent of social media and chatbots can allow direct two-way communications to hear and attend to younger folks’s voices on their conditions and challenges. Additionally, huge knowledge analytics and social media evaluation can permit public establishments to synthesize and analyze the pursuits, particular wants and priorities of youth. That is additionally useful for higher understanding the emotions of younger folks over sure points or public insurance policies. Knowledge visualization applied sciences, moreover, can help efficient sharing of such analyzed knowledge with youth and related stakeholders.

For instance, with the intention of offering correct info and knowledge on youth to allow youth technique builders to make knowledgeable selections, the Arab Youth Middle in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates launched the net interactive Arab Youth Info Platform in 2021 to determine the important thing developments impacting the Arab youth. Youth in addition to researchers and youth-related organizations are invited to take part in answering questions on eight important sectors which are vital to youth. Along with answering the questionnaire, younger folks can take part and contribute by including new questions, offering suggestions and updating info on this interactive platform. Additionally, the U-Report initiative by UNICEF, which is operated in 68 international locations, connects younger folks via chatbots through messaging, social media, and SMS channels to know their wants and issues, together with these throughout the COVID-19 state of affairs. The info and insights collected and analyzed via the Nation U-Report polling system are shared with native communities and coverage makers who make selections that have an effect on younger folks. As a selected instance, the U-Report was used for figuring out younger folks’s aspirations and opinions in regards to the labor market in making ready the ultimate draft of the Nigerian Youth Employment Motion Plan (NIYEAP).

Elevating consciousness and informing youth of presidency insurance policies

Elevating consciousness of younger folks on social challenges and coverage points, in addition to the essential position of youth in addressing these points is vital for fostering their energetic participation. The important thing to elevating consciousness is efficient and well timed info sharing and communication with youth in regards to the challenges and authorities insurance policies, which might result in their higher understanding of presidency insurance policies and the impression of their participation and motion. The traditional methods of sharing info and elevating consciousness may be reworked by making them extra engaging to youth and simpler and environment friendly for soliciting consideration and pursuits of a larger variety of younger folks.

Digital applied sciences may be leveraged to ship info to youth and have interaction with them in a extra interactive and fascinating manner. For instance, social media, which permits straightforward and ubiquitous connection of youth, can be utilized to achieve out to and share info with a lot of younger folks in an efficient and environment friendly manner and make younger folks’s communication with governments extra accessible and handy. Chatbots primarily based on synthetic intelligence (AI) can allow extra immediate or real-time communications and customized interactions, that are notably vital for younger folks. Additionally, digital applied sciences can encourage participation from younger folks, particularly via digital gamification, as younger folks have a better tendency to win competitions and obtain instant rewards.

For instance, the Delhi Authorities, India launched the Paryavaran Saathi Chatbot on social media to contain youth in its struggle in opposition to air pollution and make them conscious of the related authorities initiatives. By way of the Chatbot, younger folks can ship images about their steps for preventing in opposition to air air pollution. Younger customers obtain factors primarily based on participation, and the highest 100 performers are awarded. The gamification components, reminiscent of competitors and rewards, could make participation within the initiative extra fascinating and engaging to younger folks. Additionally, inviting younger folks to share their actions through social media and encourage buddies and neighbors to pledge their help to struggle in opposition to air pollution can have an effect on younger folks’s social aspiration to obtain acknowledgment from friends within the social group. The cell recreation utility “My Life as a Refugee” developed by UNHCR is one other instance the place younger folks can develop into conscious of the seriousness of the refugee problem and perceive the difficulties of refugees by choosing avatars and enjoying video games.

Facilitating participation in coverage consultations and decision-making processes

Youth must be consulted and engaged in decision-making processes to make sure that their views and concepts are mirrored in insurance policies and providers. Youth participation within the decision-making course of can also be vital for strengthening transparency and accountability of presidency and enhancing the belief of youth within the coverage processes.

Digital applied sciences and platforms can facilitate the session and participation of youth in decision-making. For instance, on-line platforms and cell voting could make younger folks’s participation within the youth participatory budgeting course of extra accessible and handy. Additionally, video-conferencing instruments can facilitate on-line session conferences. Immersive applied sciences reminiscent of Digital Actuality (VR) and Augmented Actuality (AR) can present digital engagement platforms which are extra fascinating and interactive, with sturdy consumer presence and community-building capabilities which might contribute to overcoming critical and formal communication mode of text-driven participation.

For instance, in Scotland, United Kingdom, the digital platform Younger Scot is used for the e-voting processes of youth participatory budgeting of native governments. Younger folks entry the net voting platform with their Younger Scot Nationwide Entitlement Playing cards and might obtain reward factors for participating within the youth participatory budgeting and different youth actions. New York Metropolis organized the digital Youth City Corridor sequence, a youth-led platform for younger folks to debate the problems of precedence for youth and contribute to the event of the NYC Youth Agenda. It goals to make sure that younger individuals are included within the processes of constructing the choices that impression them, together with the COVID-19 insurance policies. Additionally, the Ministry of Tradition, Sports activities and Tourism of the Republic of Korea used a metaverse platform to work together with the members of Ministry’s youth coverage participation marketing campaign referred to as “The Youth Made Modifications” in 2021 and arranged a sequence of coverage discussions and consultations with them. In the course of the marketing campaign, youth members deliberate and got here up with cultural insurance policies associated to the younger era and chosen two ultimate initiatives for precise implementation. An occasion to showcase the implementation outcomes of the initiatives additionally occurred on this metaverse platform, with the participation of the youth members in addition to the Minister. Such digital interactions via digital instruments and platforms could make the dialogues and coverage engagement processes with public establishments simpler, much less formal and extra pleasant. Additionally, participation within the metaverse area with an individually designated avatar character may give a robust sense of particular person id and self-expression, that are of nice significance to younger folks.

Co-designing and co-creating insurance policies and providers

Participation of youth in co-designing and co-creating insurance policies and providers along with authorities and different stakeholders can considerably contribute to addressing the complicated challenges and wishes of various segments of the society in a simpler, environment friendly and inclusive manner by harnessing their expertise, networks and potentials. By way of this, youth play a major position in forging progressive options for simpler and agile pandemic restoration and resilience constructing via collective intelligence and citizen science. Youth participation in co-creation and co-production may also contribute to enhancing belief and satisfaction with authorities insurance policies and providers.

Open platforms and progressive applied sciences can play a pivotal position in facilitating participation of youth within the co-creation and co-designing processes. Digital crowdsourcing platforms, reminiscent of Geographic Data Programs (GIS)-based interactive maps, for instance, can permit authorities to faucet into the collective knowledge by systematically amassing concepts, opinions and knowledge from residents. Organizing digital hackathons or on-line ideation challenges can also be one outstanding option to solicit the concepts of youth in creating options to handle complicated social, financial and environmental points. Additionally, open authorities knowledge can permit youth to make the most of open and massive knowledge and open supply and code for driving knowledge innovation and creating progressive options to handle varied challenges. It might additionally strengthen transparency and accountability of public establishments and improve the belief of younger folks in public establishments.

For instance, youth mappers in Uganda, Geo YouthMappers, along with the Map Uganda, used the open-source interactive map OpenStreetMap for mapping the Ugandan border districts, which have been the areas most affected by COVID-19 however existed as clean spots. This supported knowledge availability for the COVID-19 planning and actions of presidency and area responders. UN DESA Statistics Division joined forces with the UN Main Group on Youngsters and Youth and arranged the primary UN Youth Hackathon in 2021 with 86 groups looking for disruptive and progressive options that use knowledge, machine studying and synthetic intelligence to fast-track progress in the direction of the SDGs. In 2022, the second Massive Knowledge Hackathon was organized with participation of round 400 groups (about 1,700 younger knowledge scientists) from all around the globe to seek out knowledge options, which addressed international challenges, particularly associated to local weather change. Additionally, the EU Datathon, an annual open knowledge competitors occasion organized by the Publications Workplace of the European Union, invitations younger members to develop new functions by utilizing open datasets from EU establishments and companies. By way of the Datathon, new functions and digital merchandise are developed to enhance present providers or create new ones in areas reminiscent of well being, local weather change and employment. Improvement and implementation of the concepts and options from such hackathons for precise use by public establishments is vital as they are often seen as concrete outcomes and impression of younger folks’s participation. Enhancing the visibility of their contributions can render sturdy motivation for youth participation.

Coverage Suggestions

To construct an enabling ecosystem for youth engagement and participation in decision-making and public service supply, it’s important that public establishments perceive numerous challenges and take coverage measures to reap the advantages of digital applied sciences. A holistic method is required throughout the person, organizational, institutional and societal ranges.

1. Addressing the youth digital divide, particularly accessibility and affordability of the Web and digital units for youth

  • Because the digital divide nonetheless poses a giant problem for younger folks, particularly in lots of growing international locations, authorities must develop insurance policies and programmes for enhancing accessibility and affordability of the Web and digital units for youth, particularly for youth with particular vulnerabilities, reminiscent of youth with disabilities and younger refugees. For instance, the Giga initiative by ITU and UNICEF goals to attach each college to the Web.
  • Additionally it is essential that authorities supplies offline strategies of participation together with digital varieties for these younger individuals who lack entry to digital applied sciences, together with younger folks dwelling in rural and distant areas.

2. Supporting the event of youth’s digital expertise and capacities

  • Authorities wants to supply trainings and schooling programmes for younger folks to develop the talents and capacities to harness digital applied sciences, particularly in collaboration with the personal sector and academia. This won’t solely equip extra younger folks with the talents wanted for digital participation but additionally improve employment and different socioeconomic alternatives which are important for his or her empowerment towards energetic participation in public governance.
  • For instance, the African Drone and Knowledge Academy in Malawi, in partnership with universities, supplies trainings to Malawian and different African youth to equip them with knowledge and drone expertise expertise.

3. Selling a gender-sensitive method

  • In lots of international locations, there’s a digital gender divide as ladies and women have much less entry to the Web in comparison with males and boys. Thus, it’s essential to weigh within the digital gender divide and take a gender-sensitive method when growing and implementing insurance policies and techniques for youth digital engagement. Creating an inclusive ecosystem for younger ladies and women, notably by selling their participation in science, expertise, engineering and arithmetic (STEM), can also be essential within the period of innovation and digital transformation.
  • For instance, the Girls Empowerment Program in Know-how of Saudi Arabia supplies trainings to upskill ladies in AI, blockchain, knowledge science and IoT to coach workforces in response to the long run expertise developments and to inject new abilities of girls into the market.

4. Remodeling mindsets and growing capacities and expertise of public officers

  • Public officers want to remodel their mindsets to successfully harness new progressive applied sciences to advertise youth participation and digital inclusion. Amongst these within the Mindsets and Competency Framework for SDGs Implementation developed by UN DESA, the particularly related mindsets required would come with digital, progressive/problem-solving experimental, and inclusive mindsets. Additionally it is vital to make sure that public officers are outfitted with digital expertise and capacities to successfully harness digital applied sciences for youth participation.

5. Strengthening institutional coordination and coverage coherence

  • You will need to strengthen coverage coherence and coordination amongst totally different public establishments and stakeholders, as harnessing digital applied sciences for youth participation entails varied public establishments at totally different ranges and numerous stakeholders. Institutional preparations, reminiscent of establishing a delegated company or taskforce to foster the harnessing of frontier applied sciences and innovation for youth participation, may be arrange for inter-agency coordination with a whole-of-government method.
  • For instance, within the Republic of Korea, the Workplace for Youth Coverage Coordination was established below the Workplace for Authorities Coverage Coordination to coordinate numerous youth insurance policies from totally different authorities establishments. Additionally, there’s a designated authorities webpage that gives built-in entry to the youth-related digital insurance policies of each public companies in addition to the personal sector.

6. Fostering a whole-of-society method to create an enabling ecosystem for open innovation

  • Authorities must collaborate with numerous stakeholders, particularly youth organizations, the personal sector, ICT trade and academia, to construct an enabling ecosystem to stimulate open innovation, for instance, via hackathons, competitions for champions, and ideation boards. Supporting youth ICT start-ups can also be vital to boost the position of younger folks in additional development of applied sciences and innovation in addition to improve job creation for youth.
  • For instance, numerous stakeholders and companions, together with public faculties, federal representatives, NGOs, and personal corporations, are concerned within the Digital Citizen challenge by Fb Brazil, which consists of capability constructing and artistic labs to empower younger folks and prepare the trainers to foster on-line security and digital literacy.

7. Harnessing disaggregated knowledge for evidence-based youth insurance policies

  • Public establishments have to successfully harness disaggregated knowledge on youth for evidence-based youth insurance policies. Strengthening collaboration and coordination throughout authorities companies in any respect ranges and throughout sectors, in addition to with different stakeholders such because the ICT sector, civil society organizations and youth is vital for efficient assortment and evaluation of disaggregated knowledge on youth.

8. Enacting legal guidelines and rules and establishing coverage frameworks to safeguard youth on-line participation

  • Younger folks typically put an ideal emphasis on digital belief and are very involved in regards to the problem of privateness and cybersecurity, particularly on on-line participation. Additionally, it’s vital that authorities locations measures and insurance policies to mitigate the impression of misinformation and disinformation on youth and stop on-line violence in opposition to younger folks. A survey confirmed that younger digital activists really feel uncovered notably to harassment, bullying and hate speech.
  • The Data Commissioner’s Workplace of the UK established the “Age Acceptable Design Code”, which accommodates the requirements that on-line providers have to comply with to make sure compliance with the obligations below knowledge safety regulation to guard kids’s knowledge on-line.

9. Fostering youth inclusion within the governance of digital applied sciences

  • To deal with the overall lack of systematic engagement of youth within the governance of digital applied sciences, authorities must construct an institutionalized mechanism for youth participation in governance of digital applied sciences, together with within the coverage dialogues and growth processes of associated insurance policies, legal guidelines and rules.
  • For instance, the Declaration on Youth Participation in AI Governance developed by younger folks is positioned throughout the wider framework of the Council of Europe’s youth coverage.

10. Strengthening digital partnerships for youth participation and empowerment

  • You will need to promote digital partnerships, particularly by strengthening the position of regional and worldwide organizations, together with the UN companies, in facilitating and offering platforms, such because the ECOSOC Youth Discussion board and the Youth Coalition on Web Governance of the Web Governance Discussion board (IGF).

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