Youth Leadership in Action: The Future We Cannot Afford to Ignore

A GRF 2023 linked event

The "Youth Leadership in Action: The Future We Cannot Afford to Ignore" event at the Global Refugee Forum was a pivotal gathering, spotlighting the largest generation of young people in our history, with 1.9 billion individuals aged between 10 and 29 years, predominantly residing in the Global South.

The event highlighted the clear aspirations of today's youth: their pursuit of quality education, viable livelihood opportunities, and active involvement in policy discussions and decision-making processes. These ambitions were significantly reflected in the "We Believe in Youth" initiative's global youth consultations leading up to the High-Level Officials Meeting in 2021.

Key to this year's GRF, young leaders hosted gatherings in five countries, drawing in policymakers, the private sector, academia, and civil society for meaningful dialogue on vital issues. These meetings led to the creation of a Youth Manifesto, a powerful call to action for GRF stakeholders to integrate young voices into the pledge-making process.

The GRF youth linked event underscored several critical observations:

  • The growing eagerness of young people to engage in policy dialogues and forge collaborative partnerships for solution development at all levels.
  • An increasing focus on the global youth agenda, with more entities prioritizing initiatives for and with young people in humanitarian and development contexts.
  • Commitments from influential leaders, including the UN Assistant Secretary-General on Youth Affairs, the Ambassador of Denmark, the UNFPA Deputy Director of the Humanitarian Response Division, and the Incoming UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner, who all echoed support for youth investment, inclusion, and participation.

The highlight of the event was the announcement of the Global Multi-Stakeholder Youth Pledge by The Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action, focusing on:

  • Integrating humanitarian, peacebuilding, and development approaches in humanitarian and refugee response systems.
  • Inclusively acknowledging the rights, needs, and capabilities of young people of all abilities, genders, ethnicities, and diversities.
  • Recognizing and strengthening the existing youth-led actions and their contributions to systems and structures.
  • Empowering young people as critical partners, decision-makers, and leaders across refugee contexts.

This pledge marks a significant step toward meaningful and effective participation of young refugees, particularly at the local level, aiming to foster a more inclusive and resilient world. We encourage ongoing support and engagement with this pivotal initiative.