“We are becoming increasingly aware that solutions to our global challenges must purposefully engage youth, at all levels – locally, regionally, nationally and globally. This generation has the passion, dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit to shape the future.”
Professor Klaus Schwab – Founder and Executive Chairman World Economic Forum
It is official; last July was the hottest of 1639 months on record. It marks the 15th straight month that the global temperature record has been broken. Last month also was the 379th consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average. Even though the El Niño warming episode is over, Earth’s heat streak is continuing unabated. Climate change is happening; what were once considered potential impacts are increasingly being felt around the world.
Today’s young people, who are likely to experience the brunt of any future impact of climate change, are rightly enough deeply concerned on this issue. In a recent survey which polled young people aged between 18 and 35, the majority (45.2%) believed climate change and destruction of natural resources to be the most serious issue facing the world today.
Among the Oceania group, which includes Australia, New Zealand and other small Pacific Ocean island-nations that are more susceptible to climate variations, a larger percentage of respondents (61.7%) understandably thought climate change to be the top priority.
However, when it came to their own countries, 57.3 percent held the view that government corruption and the lack of accountability and transparency was the most serious problem. When asked about the most important factor contributing to inequality in their country, 58.5 percent of respondents again believed it was corruption and lack of transparency. This widely-held disapproving view among the young on corruption and accountability deficiency in administrations should be an eye-opener to governments around the world.
When asked about how governments can become more accountable and transparent, 43.5 percent called for visible penalties for poor governance by officials, 38.3 percent believed protecting the independence of courts and judiciary was important and 33.1 percent said regular and open dialogue with citizens was critical. Respondents were allowed to choose up to three answer choices.
Asked to respond on what was the most important criteria for them when it came to making a career choice, 54.1 percent opted for salary and financial compensation over growth and career advancement (45.4%) and sense of purpose or impact on society (36.5%).
The annual survey on youth perceptions was conducted by Global Shapers Community, a network of international hubs led by young people with a drive to make a contribution to their communities. This year’s survey titled ‘The Voice of Youth’, gathered responses from more than 26,000 young people aged between 18 and 35 from over 170 countries and territories.
Global Shapers was founded in 2011 as one of several multi-stakeholder community initiatives at the World Economic Forum. Other community-based initiatives include the Young Global Leaders, the Global Agenda Councils, and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.
Members of the Global Shapers community are united by a common desire to channel their tremendous energy and enthusiasm into building a more peaceful and inclusive world, by ensuring their actions have impact and that their voices are heard.
Respondents to the Global Shapers Annual Survey 2016, which was available in nine languages, including all UN languages, included both members of the Global Shapers Community (2,000) and young people who are not members of the Community (24,000).
The 2016 survey was broader than previous surveys as it was open to all young people everywhere. This democratic approach provided a better and more important view on the diversity of perspectives among young people worldwide.
The questions in the survey were designed to highlight perceptions, as well as to provide action-oriented recommendations in five areas:
Economy and Global Outlook: Youth perspectives on how major socio-economic trends are reshaping the future of the global economy.
Technology and Innovation: How technology is transforming and redefining the modern life.
Governance: Governance, attitudes to governance and recommendations for related issues.
Values and Society: Explore how modern values are evolving or changing in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.
The Role of the Private Sector: Perspectives on the role of business in society and thoughts on jobs, organizations and related issues.
The results from the survey are a powerful vocal reminder of what young people think about the world around them and what they want to do about it. The hope is that leaders and governments around the world will take not and use the results of the survey to guide them while forming policies and implementing actions so as to build a better world for all.