Amplifying the voice of young parliamentarians in development
The World Bank Group Global Young MP Initiative is a program for young parliamentarians (40 and under) from around the globe who are committed to overcoming international development challenges. Young MPs are more likely to relate to, and therefore advocate for, legislation to promote issues such as human capital investments and youth jobs creation. They are better positioned to harness technology to create opportunities and change, bringing fresh perspectives and innovations to policy discussions and invigorating democracy.
Young people are grossly underrepresented in national Parliaments. According to research by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 2.2% of MPs are under 30, 15.5% are under 40, and still only 28% are under 45. Meanwhile, the world has the largest youth generation in history, with 1.8 billion young people on the planet and more than half the population under 30. One third of these young people are not in employment, education or training, and in the next 10 years, more than 1 billion more will enter the job market.
This growing youth population is facing a fast-evolving, challenging world. While automation is threatening low-skill jobs, childhood stunting combined with inadequate education systems are preventing youth from preparing for the high-skill jobs of the future. Approximately 85% of youth are in developing economies or fragile states where lack of opportunities can lead them to migrate, or worse, turn to extremist organizations. What’s more, youth across the globe will be forced to take on the burden of the increasingly devastating effects of climate change.
Young MPs are best poised to understand the perspectives of younger generations and put their voice into the democratic process with fresh energy as well as technological savvy for more effective and efficient development outcomes. The Global Young MP Initiative facilitates communication, information-sharing and networking among them and with development experts to foster effective strategies and concrete policies for lasting results.
The Global Young MP Initiative was launched under the leadership of the World Bank External and Corporate Relations Vice Presidency in 2018 with a Steering Committee of 11 influential young parliamentarians representing every region of the world. They came together to formalize the priorities and structure of the new program alongside the World Bank and the Parliamentary Network on the WB and IMF (PN). The Steering Committee narrowed down program priorities to education, life-long learning, jobs creation, and gender equality. Emphasis was placed on pushing youth legislation and sharing best practices in the lead up to the first official meeting on the sidelines of the 2019 Spring Meetings in Washington.
The first official meeting of the Global Young MP Initiative took place on April 9, 2019 in Washington. Some 35 legislators from 26 countries representing every region of the world came together to share best practices and explore innovative policy solutions to challenges disproportionately affecting younger generations. The meeting resulted in an action plan for next steps to advance the program through a network of young MPs, various platforms for sharing, and future events and activities.