Press Release: Champions in empowering young people: Shortlist of Future Policy Award 2019 out now

Impactful policies empowering young people for a fair and sustainable future shortlisted for international award. Candidates come from Estonia, Europe, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States. Recognising that young people play a crucial role as key architects of the future of our planet, the 2019 Future Policy Award will celebrate policies that advance economic empowerment of young women and men in decent and sustainable jobs, and youth civic engagement and political participation in support of sustainable development and peace. This year’s award is organised by the World Future Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Hamburg/Belgrade, 16 October 2019 – In 2019, the Future Policy Award will highlight the world’s most impactful policies that advance youth access to decent jobs, including green jobs, and enhance civic and political participation for sustainable development and peace. The Award will commend laws, policies and legal frameworks that enable young people to develop their full potential, realize their dreams, and contribute to the success of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. Recognizing the challenges of unemployment and lack of political participation of youth, it is key to empower young people and this can have a tremendous impact on sustainable development.

In total, 67 policies from 36 countries, regional and international level were nominated. An international expert jury convened to deliberate on the top candidates. The following have been shortlisted as the most impactful policies in empowering young people:

  • Estonia: Youth Field Development Plan
  • Europe: Co-Management of the Youth Sector of the Council of Europe
  • Nepal: Constitution
  • Rwanda: YouthConnekt Initiative
  • United Kingdom, Scotland: Developing the Young Workforce
  • Senegal: National Strategy for the Promotion of Green Jobs
  • South Africa: Expanded Public Works Programme
  • United States, Los Angeles: Green New Deal

With their holistic approach and impressive impact, these eight legal frameworks and policies create enabling environments for youth empowerment, help achieve the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda and contribute directly to multiple Sustainable Development Goals. They advance youth access to decent and sustainable jobs, and enhance their civic and political participation for sustainable development and peace.

Winners of this year’s Future Policy Award will be announced on 15th October 2019 and celebrated during the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union held on 16th October 2019 in Belgrade, Serbia.

The Future Policy Award 2019 is organised by the World Future Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Youth Policy Labs, Michael Otto Foundation and Jua Foundation.

“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,” says 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.” 

“Half the world’s population is under thirty, but only 2 per cent of MPs are in that age group,” says Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General. “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 shortlisted 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.” 

“Interconnected challenges – unemployment, conflicts, the climate crisis – threaten our environment, human well-being and the future of our youth. We must act before it is too late. But there is hope: these eight policy solutions show how we can effectively transform our societal and political systems to best support youth as powerful agents of change. The World Future Council is looking forward to celebrating these best policies advancing youth empowerment in the interest of present and future generations, and to sharing their success stories. We all can – and should – learn from them,’’ says Alexandra Wandel, Executive Director of the World Future Council.

Additional Information for Editors 

About the shortlisted policies:

  • Estonia: Youth Field Development Plan, 2014-2020

The Estonian Youth Field Development Plan (2014–2020) is one of the first youth policies globally to fully respect the Baku Principles for Youth Policy, and one of the very few to emphasize the link between public policies for young people and sustainability and the environment. This comprehensive government policy for young people and the youth sector is knowledge-based and evidence-informed, participatory in development and implementation, gender-responsive, employs a holistic approach to youth development, and is fully resourced. Despite Estonia being one of the smallest and least populous European countries, and one of the youngest democracies on the continent, it has a rich history of youth work, youth research and youth policy, and an overall framework and strategy for the youth sector that is globally considered among the best. Estonia’s Youth Field Development Plan promotes high levels of engagement with youth workers, with 20% of youth workers participating in training programmes in a year, and young people, with more than 50% of all young people being involved in youth work activities in any given year.

  • Europe: Co-Management of the Youth Sector of the Council of Europe, 1972

The Council of Europe’s Co-Management System is the longest-standing practice of participatory decision-making in the world, and one of the very few examples of shared decision-making between governments and young people with power shared in full 50:50 parity. Since its inception in 1963 and institutionalisation in 1972, more than 10,000 grants were awarded to youth organizations across Europe through the co-management system, with a cumulated volume of more than 130 million Euros. Between 2008 and 2017, activities involved 3,646,000 young people directly and benefitted 8,944,000 young people indirectly. Through its constant training and education activities, as well as its continuous grant-making, the Council of Europe has influenced and improved the youth sector profoundly in Europe and beyond. Its model for co-management has been applied in a wide range of other governance and/or policy contexts. Through its long traditions, the co-management system has proven to be resilient and sustainable, while at the same time also making space for new voices and integrating new youth organizations and networks as well as young people not involved in civil society associations.

  • Nepal: Constitution, 2015, with Amendments through 2016

The Constitution of Nepal (2015) marked a major achievement for the country’s peaceful transition to democracy following the civil war between 1996 and 2006. The Constitution introduces a competitive multi-party democratic system, civic freedom, fundamental rights, human rights, periodic elections, voting rights, full freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary. It provides a vision of a prosperous nation, built on principles of the rule of law, democratic values, durable peace, good governance and sustainable development. It provides for the right to a healthy environment. Its articles 18.2 and 51.j (7) contain provisions for youth rights relating to participation and empowerment, as well as protections from discrimination. The Constitution of Nepal provides a progressive example of an inclusive constitution that addresses historical inequalities and creates a vision for a sustainable and prosperous future. Since its promulgation, a suite of youth policies and institutional developments have taken place, including the approval of the National Youth Policy (2015), which provides a national strategy for empowering young people, the establishment of the independent and autonomous National Youth Council (2015) and its Youth Data Portal, the Youth Vision 2025 and the Ten-Year Strategic Plan (2015) with its key action areas relate to education, employment, health, social security, leadership, development and sports, and the 14th Development Plan (2017), which includes a section on youth development and which includes a youth-specific target of 50,000 young people to be self-employed every year via the Youth Self-Employment Programme.

  • Rwanda: YouthConnekt Initiative, 2012

YouthConnekt is a multifaceted and innovative programme that connects youth to private sector and government employment, entrepreneurship opportunities and off-farm jobs. It is part of the Government’s goal to engage young people in building up the country and enhance their economic empowerment. Its comprehensive approach addresses key environmental, IT, health, social, cultural and economic issues. The programme has created a strong network of young entrepreneurs, policy influencers as well as a platform to share opportunities, advance skills, construct collaborations, promote promising entrepreneurs and showcase achievements. It has reached thousands of young Rwandans (aged 16-34) raising their awareness on issues such as employment, entrepreneurship and ICT, organized four YouthConnekt boot camps to coach 360 young innovators selected from the country’s 30 districts, and created more than 4,000 off-farm jobs. YouthConnekt also fosters civic engagement, promotes youth participation through the National Youth Council and contributes to raising intergenerational awareness about the genocide against the Tutsi. More than 18,000 youth have been directly engaged in national policy dialogues. From 2012-2018 around 600,000 young people participated every year in national YouthConnekt Month, a format that creates an enabling environment for Rwandan youth to contribute towards the welfare of their communities and enhance their role in national building. Since its inception by UNDP, in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and One UN Rwanda, it has evolved to become a flagship programme across Africa, was endorsed by the African Union as a major implementing modality of their African Youth Charter and led to the creation of YouthConnekt Africa in 2017. YouthConnekt Africa aims to create 20 million jobs.

  • Senegal: National Strategy for the Promotion of Green Jobs, 2015-2020

In 2015, the Government of Senegal with the support of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) elaborated its first National Strategy for the Promotion of Green Jobs (SNEV Strategy) in a participatory manner. The SNEV Strategy serves as a reference framework for green jobs, strengthening the legislative, institutional and regulatory framework, creating green job opportunities, building human capacities, developing an appropriate financing policy, enabling advocacy, and setting up mechanisms for monitoring and promoting sustainability. Its goal was to create 5,000 decent and sustainable green jobs by 2022 and as of June 2019, about 2,000 green jobs have been created, indicating the Strategy is gradually on its way to achieving its initial targets. Young people and women constitute the majority of beneficiaries. Of the green job projects that have been created, 88% have been successful and/or were implemented satisfactorily. Recycling, aquaculture and forestry projects all generated a return on investment in the second year of production. The SNEV Strategy has also led to first steps of institution-building, inspiring the establishment of a National Platform on Green Economy. The strong political will behind the Strategy, which is currently being evaluated, indicates that it is likely that the Strategy will be continued beyond 2020. Furthermore, the policy is being taken as a model by other countries such as Burkina Faso and Ghana.

  • South Africa: Expanded Public Works Programme, 2004

In the context of endemic unemployment, South Africa’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) provides poverty and income relief through temporary, socially useful work, as the only social programme targeting South Africa’s unemployed adults. This nationwide programme – the country’s largest active labour market policy – has existed since 2004 and has been implemented in three phases. What makes it innovative is its large-scale nature, its inter-ministerial coordination, its expansion beyond the infrastructure sector to include non-state, social, environmental and cultural sectors, and the fact that it is directly targeted to youth and vulnerable groups. Since its inception, it has generated over 8 million work opportunities. In the most recently completed phase of the programme, 66% of beneficiaries were women, 46% were youth and 1% were people with disabilities. It has had a positive impact on income levels and, in Phase 2, 70% of participants had transitioned to longer-term self or formal employment, while delivering important public services. It is a global pioneer in environmental services, e.g. cleared over 2 million hectares of alien invasive plants. The programme is seen by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as a successful country experience, implementing many elements of ILO’s Recommendation No. 202.

  • United Kingdom, Scotland: Developing the Young Workforce, 2014

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) is Scotland’s youth employment strategy, which is ensuring that all children and young people are better prepared for the world of work and equipped with the skills they need to have fair access to job opportunities. By creating the DYW framework the Scottish Government implements the recommendations made by the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce and expands work-based learning, with a special focus on disadvantaged youth. The DYW Strategy’s main function is to bring together the education systems, employers, civil societies, youth organizations and local authorities, in order to implement its guidelines and to include employers in shaping the curriculum so that young people gain the right qualifications. The DYW Strategy and implementation plan include milestones across all sectors. Equality, inclusion and STEM subjects are highlighted as areas of crucial importance with over a third of all key milestones relating to these areas. The DYW strategy incorporates the Learning for Sustainability (LfS). It became an integral part of the Scottish education system and is aligned with ambitious national goals to transform into a green economy and a fair society. Its headline target, to reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021, has been reached four years ahead of schedule and Scotland is now ranked among the top five countries in Europe. Official statistics of 2017, show that youth unemployment, excluding those in full-time education, fell from 52,000 in 2014 down to 27,000 in 2017. Furthermore, there has been a year on year increase in the number of school leavers attaining vocational qualifications, nearly doubling from 7.3% in 2013 to 14.8% in 2018. To date, 28,000 apprenticeships have been created in 2019.

  • United States, Los Angeles: Green New Deal, 2019

Los Angeles launched its Green New Deal on 29 April 2019 with the aim to guide the city’s transition into an equitable and abundant economy powered by 100% renewable energy by 2045 that achieves 100% net zero emissions by 2050 and that creates 400,000 green jobs by 2050. It serves as an ambitious update to Los Angeles’ Sustainable City pLAn (pLAn) of 2015, which has already met or exceeded 90% of the near-term goals on time and earlier. Thanks to the pLAn, Los Angeles became the number-one solar city in America, pioneering new transportation technologies, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 11% in a single year and creating more than 35,000 green jobs. Los Angeles’ Green New Deal of 2019 builds hereon and contains more aggressive goals to support Los Angeles’ commitment to uphold the Paris Agreement. It is a comprehensive roadmap to increase efforts towards protecting the environment, strengthening of the economy, building a more equitable future and addressing environmental justice. The Green New Deal aims to tackle the climate emergency with accelerated targets and sets the city on course to be carbon neutral by 2050 – solidifying the city’s position as a national leader in solar energy, electric vehicle infrastructure and green jobs. It is an urban green new deal serving as an inspiring model for other cities across America and beyond. Indeed inspired in part by Los Angeles, more than 400 cities worldwide have declared climate emergencies and work together with Los Angeles towards a green transition through the C40 cities network.

Read more about the shortlisted policies here.

About the Future Policy Award 2019: 

More information about this year’s Future Policy Award is available at:
Follow the 2019 Future Policy Award on Twitter with #FuturePolicyAward and #FPA2019

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. 

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) 
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the world’s organisation of parliaments. It was founded in 1889 as the first multilateral political organisation, 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. We build capacities of young MPs and provide platforms for them to coordinate actions at the global, regional and national levels. We also monitor youth representation in parliaments and issue policy and legislative guidance to boost it. 

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, we offer 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.

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, realise their rights and tap their possibilities as agents of Change. The office also promotes the empowerment and foster the leadership of youth at the national, regional, and global levels, including through exploring and encourages mechanisms for young people’s participation in the work of the United Nations’s family and in political and economic processes with a special focus on the most marginalized and vulnerable youth. 

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 U.N. agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.

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. We operate 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. We champion the development of youth policies, promote young people as researchers, facilitate international discussion on youth policies, and advocate for stronger coherence within the United Nations 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.

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

Media Contact

Alexandra Wandel
Chair, Management Board
World Future Council
Dorotheenstr. 15, 22301 Hamburg, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)1727483953

About the World Future Council

The World Future Council (WFC) consists of up to 50 eminent global changemakers from governments, parliaments, civil society, academia, the arts, and business who have already successfully created change. We work to pass on a healthy planet and fair societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying and spreading effective, future just policy solutions and promote their implementation worldwide. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organization under German law and finance our activities from donations. For information visit