Global Youth Summit preceding the WTDC held in Rwanda

Global Youth Summit preceding the WTDC held in Rwanda

Generation Connect aims to engage global youth and encourage their participation as equal partners alongside the leaders of today’s digital change, empowering them to advance the vision of a connected future.

Today’s world is home to around 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24, with close to 90 % of them living in developing countries. In Africa, with a population of 1.2 billion, about 41 % of the people are below 15 years of age while another 19 % are young people from 15 to 24 years of age. In many developed and developing countries, youth, especially girls and young women, face disproportionate exposure to poverty and unemployment.

The Youth Strategy aims to improve the lives of young people around the world and to ensure meaningful participation of youth in ITU as key stakeholders in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It aims to, inter alia, reduce the youth digital divide. The three pillars of the Youth Strategy are empowerment, engagement, and participation. These words became the main slogans of the event held in Rwanda as well.

The summit brought together young leaders, entrepreneurs, social change-makers, engineers, policy specialists, students, and others. Older generations of business leaders, influential decision makers, and community advocates also joined the event. The Generation Connect Global Youth Summit was held in a hybrid format, gathering almost 800 offline attendees between the ages of 18 and 30 in Kigali.

The summit discussion focused on the theme of digital divide and related subtopics, including digital skills, gender equality, climate change, Internet security, future job opportunities, entrepreneurship, digital addictions, and many others. The summit concluded with the “Call to Action” document, which will be presented to world leaders at the WTDC. The WTDC will take place on June 6–16 in Kigali as well.

Alina Ustinova and Alim Khapov, two staff members of the Center for Global IT-Cooperation, were the only summit participants representing Russia. They spoke on Russian projects designed to engage youth in taking decisions in terms of digital future development. For example, event attendees learned about the Youth Digital Ombudsman project that has already been running for more than a year. The first and current Youth Digital Ombudsman Dmitry Gulyaev was elected at the First Youth Internet Governance Forum that took place in April 2021.

All summit outcome documents can be found on the event’s website: https://www.itu.int/generationconnect/generation-connect-youth-summit-2022/