Young MPs push for more youth inclusive societies, economies and democracies

Geneva, 17 November 2017

More than 130 young MPs from all around the world, attending the Fourth Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians, will identify solutions to present-day democratic, economic and social divides and lay the groundwork for more inclusive economic and social policies that leave no one behind.
The Conference will focus, among other things, on youth political participation, migration and social integration, and inclusive economic opportunities for all: men and women, young and old, poor and rich, educated and uneducated, from the minority or majority. Everyone must have access to opportunities equally and without restrictions or discrimination of any kind. The urgency of the Conference topics is highlighted by the need to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals at a time when 27 million young people are leaving their countries of birth to seek education and employment abroad and to escape from poverty, violence and conflict.

The Conference, jointly organized by the Parliament of Canada and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, takes place on 17 and18 November in Ottawa. Miroslav Lajcak, President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly and the United Nations Secretary-General Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake have sent video messages.

Featured panellists include family policy expert Paul Kershaw, Chief Trade Commissioner of Canada Ailish Campbell, women and girls' rights activist Farah Mohamed, Head of Public Policy at Facebook, Canada, Kevin Chan, Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada Michael Wernick, and young parliamentarians from Bangladesh, Canada, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Mali and Nigeria. The newly elected IPU President, who is a young MP herself, Gabriela Cuevas Barron, and IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong will take part in the Conference.

Youth and international organizations working for youth empowerment and inclusion, including the Atkinson Foundation, Generation Squeeze, the Samara and the Malala Fund, the Assembly of First Nations Youth Council, Equal Voice, the World Refugee Council, ILO and UNAIDS will also attend the Conference. They will be joined by private sector companies, such as Facebook, that influence youth economic empowerment.

The Fourth Conference will empower young MPs to drive the inclusion agenda in national and global policy-making. IPU statistics highlight the crisis of youth participation in parliaments. The MPs under 30 account for a mere 1.9 per cent of MPs worldwide. More than 80 per cent of upper houses of parliaments have no MPs under 30. This underrepresentation of young people in national and global policy discussions jeopardizes the achievement of sustainable solutions to economic, social and political challenges. Underrepresentation is a challenge that the IPU is meeting head-on.

The annual IPU Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians brings together young women and men parliamentarians to share experiences, build networks, and promote a youth-coordinated approach to international affairs. It is open to young members of national parliaments.