January 2016 sees the new Sustainable Development Goals coming into force. If these Goals are to transform the lives of children, young people, their communities and countries, we must do things differently from now on. Today, the #Case4Space initiative launches its report, ‘From Rhetoric to Action’, led by 18 Global Young Researchers from 5 regions of the world and authored by Youth Policy Labs. Their innovative research investigates and analyses current conditions for child and youth development and presents considerations for future action on the cusp of a new era in global development.
The Case for Space is a global research and advocacy initiative that seeks to understand and strengthen the enabling environment for child and youth development. It is founded on the evidence that young people can and do lead development. But the space for them to do so is restricted. Time and again children and young people face systemic barriers and obstacles that inhibit their development, and hold back their collective agency.
It is all very well that young people are ready to lead. But are we creating an environment that enables them, and the organisations they work through, to do so? That’s why we are making the #Case4Space
With our partners, War Child UK and Youth Business International, we have commissioned Youth Policy Labs to carry out a piece of youth-led research. The research aims to investigate, understand and present considerations for future action on how to improve the conditions and structures affecting child and youth development.
The findings of our research strengthen understanding of the major hindrances for child and youth development: it is discouragingly far from new to see that poverty affects children and young people disproportionately, and that governance is closely intertwined with development outcomes. To make matters worse, many movements of young people around the globe ― the very citizens who are best positioned to address these challenges ― find themselves caught up in the current global pushback against civil society. The sheer scale of challenging conditions can feel overwhelming.
However, the research also gives cause for hope. Around the world, small but important victories are being won by and for children and young people. Our research has showcased ways in which child and youth organisations and movements are taking action.
Unless we ensure the right conditions are in place, we risk losing the incredible potential that exists for the thousands of youth activists, entrepreneurs, youth-led organisations and movements to lead the global development agenda.
The research has also reaffirmed our belief that children and young people are the ones best placed to inform policies and programmes that affect them demonstrates how young people can be agents of change.
The 18 young researchers and the Case for Space partners are calling for others to join them in the coming months as they make a collective case for space and ensure that young people and their organisations can deliver on the promise of the new Sustainable Development Goals.
Visit the website to download the report, view interactive profiles of the young researchers and their topics of interest, their methods and findings, and join in the conversation on #Case4Space.