Youth and Information Technology
We live in a rapidly changing world, and one of the principal forces driving that pace of change is the continuing information and telecommunications revolution. This transformation is not just changing our economies and cultures, but is also changing the face, shape, size and functions of cities world-wide. Even if we do not yet quite know the exact shape of things to come, we all share a collective and instinctive feeling that this future will be radically different from the world we know today, and that it will certainly be much more urban than in the past.
It is quite clear that today’s generation of young people, at 1.2 billion, is the largest the world has ever known. An overwhelming majority of this number live in developing countries. This demographic phenomenon offers an unprecedented opportunity for innovation and development. Yet, too many young people, some of whom are highly educated, have inadequate, unchallenging, or no job opportunities. A large number of youth have no immediate prospects and are increasingly getting discouraged; even becoming distrustful of existing institutions and leaders.
The perception of the youth as a group peripheral to the national discourse tends to obscure their potential contribution, particularly their energy, innovative potential, and skills. Youth should be seen as positive human power and not as a problem. Youth with the right skills and knowledge in information and communication technology constitute a particularly potent asset for countries and cities.
Youth and Sustainability
We at UN-Habitat believe that youth are leaders, not just leaders of tomorrow, but also of today. Recent demonstrations around the world highlight the frustration of youth, but with those frustrations is also a desire to be positive change agents, partners who are willing to come to the table with concrete ideas and commitments to a more sustainable future. It is imperative we greet them with open arms and not closed fists. Our today and tomorrow depend on it.