Monday, 18 January 2021

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#DemocracyDay - involving youth

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15 September 2014 – Democracy, the government of citizens by citizens, is today recognized as a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems.

There is no single version of democracy. Many countries practice different types, be they direct participation, or indirectly through elected leaders, thus democracy is constantly growing. But all hold one aspect in common: the people govern themselves and no one person or group can force their ideas to stand above the rest.

As the world moves into the post-2015 phase, well into the new millennium, it faces both old, and new, challenges. Challenges which will affect the future, and which will need future generations to guide the world through.

As we celebrate the International Day of Democracy today, we mark the importance of the participation of youth in democracy. Youth, people between the ages of 15 and 25, constitute one fifth of the worlds population. Yet, this important demographic is growing disinterested in political involvement. Study after study shows declining faith among young people in politics as we know it, with decreasing levels of participation in elections, political parties and traditional social organizations across the world.

Democracy is as much a process as a goal, and only with the full participation of and support by the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals, can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. Though traditional youth participation is declining, it is not disappearing, simply changing forms.

Informal, youth-led movements for democratic change are on the rise in a number of countries – including in fragile states. Using new communication channels in social networks, young people are making their mark on democracy building in untraditional ways. For today’s Day of Democracy, youth can share their thoughts on social media using the hashtag #DemocracyDay.

In the spirit of democracy, and youth involvement, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issues a challenge to the youth of today: “I call on members of the largest generation of youth in history to confront challenges and consider what you can do to resolve them. To take control of your destiny and translate your dreams into a better future for all.”

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