Young parliamentarians meeting in Asunción, Paraguay, have called for the pursuit of happiness and well-being to be explicitly integrated into public policy. In the outcome statement, the young MPs asserted that a country’s success could not be gauged merely by measuring its economic growth. Factors such as equality, education levels and emotional fulfilment were just as important.
Approximately 100 young parliamentarians from 40 countries attended the sixth annual IPU Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians under the umbrella theme Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and empowering youth through well-being, organized in partnership with the Congress of Paraguay. The average age of the Members of Parliament was 38 years and 40 per cent were women, one of the highest percentages ever achieved at an IPU conference. In keeping with their holistic approach to securing well-being and sustainability, they were joined by representatives from international organizations, youth organizations, academia and the private sector.
Topics discussed included how to look at well-being through a parliamentary lens, by, for example, building well-being checks into the budget process, establishing parliamentary committees on happiness, or improving oversight of government performance in delivering well-being for all, particularly younger generations. Including considerations of well-being in public policy will also help identify demographic or geographic inequalities – a vital step in setting priorities for the 11 years left to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The IPU conference also included practical skills building for young parliamentarians with workshops on leadership, communication skills and mentorship.
Empowering youth is also the theme of this year’s Future Policy Award, which recognizes laws and policies that encourage young people to become more politically involved or help them access greener jobs. This year’s award is organized by the World Future Council, the IPU and the United Nations Development Programme, with the support of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organization, Youth Policy Labs, the Michael Otto Foundation and the Jua Foundation.
The shortlist of nominees has just been published. The winners of the Future Policy Award will be announced on 15 October and celebrated during the 141st IPU Assembly on 16 October in Belgrade, Serbia.