Jayathma Wickramanakaye, UN youth envoy, flanked by UN Humanitarian coordinator Edward Kallon in Abuja at a press briefing at the end of her visit to Nigeria

The United Nations Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanakaye, has backed moves to reduce current age restriction that keeps young people from running for political office.

It is among recommendations she will present to the UN in New York at the end of her five-country tour to meet with young people in their resident cities.

It started in Nigeria as a campaign backing young people as old enough to vote but not too young to run for elected office.

Three more states are left to sign the resulting#NotTooYoungToRun bill before it is due for a presidential assent.

But the movement has become a global campaign to involve young people more in governance, the processes of the UN and in the highest-level decision making platforms.

Wickramanakaye listed #NotTooYoungToRun among solutions from Nigeria that needed to be scaled up globally.

“Young people are organizing themselves into movements—for climate change, as civil society—to let elders know ‘we are watching,” Wickramanakaye said.

She noted governments and the world’s leaders must invest in health, education and development of its young in order to reap progress and close inequalities.

She said proper education was necessary to break the hold of employment and poverty.

“There is a huge mismatch between skills that young people come out with and what the world needs,” said Wickramanakaye at a press briefing.

“The conversation is: what are we teaching young people in school? Are we giving them skills or knowledge?

“By 2030, we need to create 600 million new jobs. What we need is to create a culture of youth entrepreneurship.”

The UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, noted framework was in place for young people to channel their ideas and solutions to the UN system and have their voice heard on the global stage.

 

 

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