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Demonstration against climate change in South Africa. © Phill Magakoe / AFP

Youth participation

We encourage youth participation in parliaments and empower young MPs.
children at climate change demonstration

Young people are the future of any democracy. Today's youth are tomorrow's leaders, and they can already bring new ideas to solving the world’s problems. However, young people continue to be severely under-represented in parliament.

For over a decade, the IPU has been empowering young politicians to strengthen and rejuvenate democracies and make them more representative of all generations.

In 2010, we set up an international framework for youth participation in democracy and the Forum of Young Parliamentarians to bring in fresher faces to the political process. 

The IPU is the data reference on youth in parliament, tracking the average age of MPs at the national, regional and global levels.

In 2018, the IPU became the first international organization to introduce incentives to encourage more young parliamentarians to attend its meetings. Parliamentary delegations who bring young MPs to IPU Assemblies receive extra votes and speaking time.

Working with parliaments, the United Nations, youth parliaments, civil society organizations and academia, we encourage youth participation by:

  • Monitoring youth representation and participation, and issuing policy and legislative guidance to boost it. We also support parliaments in facilitating the access of youth to political decision-making, empowering young MPs and young people in general, and including a youth perspective in policies.
  • Providing networking opportunities for young MPs to come together, through, for example the IPU annual global conference of young parliamentarians. The event brings together about 200 young parliamentarians, international organizations, youth associations and civil society.
  • Organizing campaigns to raise awareness and motivate action to enhance youth participation.

Access the latest report on Youth participation in national parliaments

MPs under 30
2.61
Global percentage of MPs under 30
MPs under 45
29.54
Global percentage of MPs under 45

Half the world’s population is under 30 and yet less than 3% of MPs globally represent this age group.

The IPU has identified the six ways to change this. 

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