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Future Policy Award 2019 crowns eight best policies empowering youth

Youth at the IPU

Eight inspiring and effective laws and policies that empower young people have been awarded the 2019 Future Policy Award. Selected from among 67 nominated policies from 36 countries, this year’s winners of the “oscar for best policies” come from Rwanda, Estonia, Scotland (United Kingdom), Nepal, South Africa, the Council of Europe, Los Angeles (USA) and Senegal. 

On 16 October, during the IPU 141st Assembly in Belgrade, Serbia, the winners will be celebrated at a special ceremony on 16 October jointly organized by the IPU, the World Future Council, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Parliamentarians will recognize and celebrate these extraordinary policies for their significant work to advance youth access to decent jobs, including green jobs, and enhance civic and political participation for sustainable development and peace.  

Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of the World Future Council, said: “By empowering youth, it is possible to tackle the multiple global challenges– the climate crisis, unemployment and conflicts - that threaten our future. This year’s Future Policy Award honours exceptional policies adopted by political leaders who have decided to act, no longer accepting widespread youth unemployment or the absence of youth in political participation. The 2019 Future Policy Award winners prove that it is feasible – and show how. Policymakers across the globe should follow their example and step up similar exemplary political action!’’

"The Future Policy Award showcases innovative ways to break down barriers in critical areas like youth unemployment and help set free the massive talents of young women and men," said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator and Vice-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group. "Crucially, shining a light on these exceptional youth initiatives can allow them to be translated to other country contexts -- thus helping to drive forward sustainable development."

Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General, said: “Half the world’s population is under thirty, but only 2% of MPs are in that age group. One of the IPU’s key objectives is to empower youth by getting more young people into parliament to ensure stronger, more representative, and future-looking democratic institutions. These winning laws and policies show that there are many great initiatives all over the world that can serve as examples for other countries to harness the potential of youth.”

Among the speakers and personalities presenting the awards will be Gabriela Cuevas Barron, IPU President; Melvin Bouva, President of the IPU Forum of Young Parliamentarians and Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Suriname; and Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU; Vladimir Marinkovic, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia; Charles Chauvel, Global Lead, Inclusive Processes and Institutions of UNDP; and Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director, World Future Council. Kehkashan Basu, Youth Ambassador of the World Future Council, graces the occasion as the Master of the Ceremonies.

Since its inception, the Future Policy Award has recognized 51 policies from 37 countries that are tackling the world’s most pressing global challenges. Past awards have been given for policies protecting biodiversity, forests, oceans and food security, as well as for disarmament, children’s rights, ending violence against women and girls, combating desertification, and scaling up agroecology. The 2019 group of winners advance the economic empowerment of young women and men through decent and sustainable jobs, and youth civic engagement and political participation for sustainable development and peace. 

This year’s Future Policy Award is organized by the IPU, the World Future Council, and UNDP, with the support of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Youth Policy Labs. It was made possible by the generous support of the Michael Otto Foundation and the Jua Foundation.

About the Future Policy Award: 

Every year, the most impactful policies tackling humankind’s most pressing challenges are celebrated through the Future Policy Award, the only global award that recognizes policies for the benefit of present and future generations. The aim of the Award is to raise global awareness for exemplary policies and speed up policy action. The World Future Council has awarded this annual prize since 2010 in partnership with UN agencies and the IPU. 

The winners of the Future Policy Award 2019: 

The Award jury selected one Gold, Silver and Bronze winner for each of the two 2019 categories, which are Decent and Sustainable Jobs for Youth Economic Empowerment and Youth Civic Engagement and Political Participation for Sustainable Development and Peace. 

The 2019 Future Policy Gold Award winners are:

•    Category – Decent and Sustainable Jobs for Youth Economic Empowerment: Rwanda’s YouthConnekt Initiative (2012) is a multifaceted and innovative programme that empowers youth, connects them to the private sector, government employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, and strengthens their civic engagement and leadership. Around 600,000 young people have participated in national YouthConnekt Month every year since 2012 through hands-on activities in their communities and thousands of jobs have been created. Already, 12 African countries have subscribed to the YouthConnekt model. As of 2017, the YouthConnekt Africa Summits aim to transform the continent with potent young actors by creating 10 million jobs for youth in sustainable job environments reducing gender inequalities.

•    Category – Youth Civic Engagement and Political Participation for Sustainable Development and Peace: Estonia’s Youth Field Development Plan (2014–2020) is a comprehensive policy for young people and the youth sector that aims to ensure that each young person has ample opportunities for self-development and self-realization. It is one of the first youth policies globally to fully respect the Baku Principles for Youth Policy. The plan promotes high levels of engagement with youth workers, 20% of whom participate in training programmes each year. As a result, more than 50% of all young Estonians have been involved in youth work activities every year since 2014.

This year’s two Future Policy Silver Awards are granted to:

•    Category - Decent and Sustainable Jobs for Youth Economic Empowerment: United Kingdom - Scotland’s Developing the Young Workforce Strategy (2014–2021) is the government’s strategy for tackling youth unemployment and improving the skill levels of young people. It brings together all stakeholders and is aligned with ambitious national goals to realize Agenda 2030 and transform Scotland to have a greener economy and a fairer society. Its headline target, to reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021, was reached four years ahead of schedule.

•    Category - Youth Civic Engagement and Political Participation for Sustainable Development and Peace: Nepal’s Constitution (2015) marked a major achievement for the country’s peaceful transition to democracy. Its Articles contain provisions for youth rights relating to participation and empowerment, as well as protections from discrimination, and enshrine the right to a healthy environment. Since its promulgation, a suite of youth policies and institutional developments have taken place, including the approval of the National Youth Policy (2015) and establishment of the National Youth Council.

The two Future Policy Bronze Awards go to: 

•    Category - Decent and Sustainable Jobs for Youth Economic Empowerment: South Africa’s Expanded Public Works Programme that has generated over 8 million temporary work opportunities, 46% of which benefitted youth.
•    Category - Youth Civic Engagement and Political Participation for Sustainable Development and Peace: The Council of Europe’s Co-Management of the Youth Sector, one of the very few examples worldwide of shared decision-making between governments and young people where power is shared in full 50:50 parity.

The winners of the Future Policy Vision Award are:

•    Senegal’s National Strategy for the Promotion of Green Jobs (2015–2020), which serves as the nation’s reference framework for a green economy, resulting in many green job projects that created 2,000 jobs mainly for and with young people and women. 

•    Los Angeles’ Green New Deal (2019), which aims to guide the city’s transition into an equitable and abundant economy powered by 100% renewable energy by 2045, and which serves as an inspiring model for other cities, as its predecessor - the Sustainable City pLAn (2015–2019) - met 90% of its near-term goals on time. 

More information about this year’s Future Policy Award winners can be found at: www.worldfuturecouncil.org/p/2019-empowering-youth/

About the Future Policy Award 2019 Ceremony: 

Winners of this year’s Future Policy Award will be celebrated on 16 October 2019, from 3:00 – 4:15 pm CET, during the 141st Assembly of the IPU, in Belgrade, Serbia.

About the organizers:

Convening Partners

The World Future Council 

The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of law and policy making. The Council consists of 50 eminent global change-makers from governments, parliaments, the arts, civil society, academia and business. Together they form a voice for the rights of future generations. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and identifies and promotes effective legislative and policy solutions among decision makers. www.worldfuturecouncil.org 

The IPU

The IPU is the world's organization of parliaments. It was founded in 1889 as the first multilateral political organization, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, IPU comprises 179 national parliaments and 12 associate members. It empowers youth by supporting parliaments to better provide access to youth to political decision-making, and include a youth perspective in legislation and policies. IPU builds the capacities of young MPs and provides platforms for them to coordinate actions at the global, regional and national levels. It also monitors youth representation in parliaments and issues policy and legislative guidance to boost their role. 

 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, UNDP offers a global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. UNDP recognizes, supports and promotes the role of young women and men as agents of change and has implemented its first-ever UNDP Youth Global Programme since 2016. www.undp.org

Supporting Partners

United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth 

The UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth serves as a global advocate for addressing the needs and rights of young people. The Envoy on Youth's Office is part of the United Nations Secretariat and has been tasked by the Secretary-General to lead the development and implementation of Youth 2030, the United Nations Strategy on Youth, in conjunction with the UN system and young people themselves. Youth 2030 was launched by the Secretary-General in September 2018 with the aim of scaling up global, regional and national actions to meet young people’s needs, realize their rights and tap their possibilities as agents of Change. The office also promotes the empowerment and fosters the leadership of youth at the national, regional, and global levels, including through exploring and encouraging mechanisms for young people’s participation in the work of the United Nations family and in political and economic processes with a special focus on the most marginalized and vulnerable youth. www.un.org/youthenvoy

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the United Nations agency for the world of work. It sets international labour standards, promotes rights at work, and encourages decent employment opportunities, the enhancement of social protection and the strengthening of dialogue on work-related issues. The ILO was founded in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. The only tripartite UN agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers from 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. www.ilo.org

Youth Policy Labs

 Youth Policy Labs is the leading global think-tank specifically focusing on youth and is hosted by the Berlin-based NGO Demokratie & Dialog e.V. It operates at the junction of research and journalism, producing high-quality and well-researched knowledge with the aim of improving public policies that affect the lives of young people. Youth Policy Labs champions the development of youth policies, promotes young people as researchers, facilitates international discussion on youth policies, and advocates for stronger coherence within the UN and donor agencies on youth rights, policies and programmes. Our team is made up of youth policy experts, youth researchers, and young journalists. Our publications are published under Youth Policy Press, a global publishing house on youth issues. www.youthpolicy.org

With special thanks to the Michael Otto Foundation and the Jua Foundation.

Media contacts:

World Future Council
Samia Kassid, Senior Project Manager, The Rights of Children and Youth
Phone: +49 (0)40 307 09 14 18
samia.kassid@worldfuturecouncil.org; media@worldfuturecouncil.org 

IPU
Thomas Fitzsimons, Director of Communications
Phone: +41 (0)79 854 31 53 
tf@ipu.org 

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist - Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Tel.: +1 212 906 5043
Sangita.khadka@undp.org