Young people are the future of global cities and a major driving force towards sustainable development – by 2030, they will make up 60% of the world’s population.
But despite being the largest generation of young people in history, their basic human rights to representation and participation are not being met. They are often left out of decision making and lack vital opportunities to drive changes in the city-systems they live in.
To set young people up for success and give them the space to craft their own futures, we need inventive solutions that respond to young people’s digital realities.
Fondation Botnar and UN-Habitat are committed to promoting the health and wellbeing of young people in cities by actively engaging them in urban governance, design of inclusive public spaces and digital engagement.
The Young Gamechangers Initiative, launched in June 2022, in partnership with UN-Habitat, the World Health Organisation and Block by Block Foundation, is a three year engagement that harnesses innovative digital tools to amplify young people’s voices and opinions on the future of equitable city systems for all. Using Minecraft, a popular video game adopted as a participatory tool, young people can express their visions for healthy, thriving cities. The initiative will kick off in January 2023, and will engage with municipalities of intermediary cities, non-profit organisations and researchers.
The initiative is based on the recognition that young people are digital experts – we live in a digital world, and technology is part of many young people’s daily lives. By investing in fun, forward thinking methods and technologies, we can meaningfully centre youth voices to improve their health and wellbeing.
The initiative aims to achieve these three objectives:
- Strengthening governance frameworks to advance health and wellbeing of young people
- Empowering young people with voice and agency and have the right digital skills to engage in governance
- Promoting and supporting local authorities in delivering public spaces that are safe, accessible and that promotes health and wellbeing for young people
Three intermediary cities, Armenia (Colombia), Jatni (India) and Bargny (Senegal) have been selected to pilot the Young Gamechangers Initiative.
UN-Habitat and Fondation Botnar launched the Young Gamechangers Initiative during WUF11 with a live signing on Minecraft.