New Youth Agenda At the World Bank? Readers and Development Partners Weigh In
Friday, March 20, 2015
Can World Bank staff loosen their ties and engage with young people in a meaningful, productive way?
Youth champions and development professionals hope that — if approved by senior management — a new team focused on youth will put an emphasis on listening more to young people to incorporate their ideas into the core of the global financial institution’s work.
As Devex reported last month, World Bank senior management is reviewing a proposal called “Youth Development Global Solutions,” which suggests creating a new collaborative team that would work across global practices and country units on the challenges facing young people around the world. These would include issues such as youth engagement and participation, as well as access to economic opportunities, youth services and jobs.
Such a team would make young people a more visible development priority at the World Bank at a time when youth is shaping up to be a significant aspect of the post-2015 development agenda. Currently within the new World Bank structure, youth as a development priority is obscured — neither featured as a unit, global practice nor a crosscutting solutions area the way gender, climate change and jobs are.
If “Youth Development Global Solutions” does get approved, its first priority should be to listen to youths themselves, Aline Rahbany, urban learning hub leader at World Vision told Devex.
Rahbany works with young people on peace building and urban programming in Beirut, Lebanon.
“What we hear when listening to adolescents is that they have strong views and impressive community-level accomplishments in improving governance, reaching inclusive societies and reducing tension,” said Rahbany, adding that working with young people has to be done on their own terms, not the terms of a nongovernmental organization or a global financial institution.