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Extremely Together

PAPER: Why youth leadership when dealing with complex crises must no longer be ignored

Deeply concerned at how extremists worldwide are exploiting the uncertainty and fear created by the Covid-19 pandemic to reinforce their rhetoric and enroll recruits, Extremely Together young leaders and the Kofi Annan Foundation have published a position paper calling global decision-makers and young people to join forces in addressing the discrepancy between the leadership demonstrated by young people in dealing with the tensions created by the crisis and their limited inclusion in the peace and security agenda, and in decision-making in general.


In the last few months, young people have demonstrated how fast and effective they have been in responding to the pandemic by helping the vulnerable, spreading messages to prevent violent extremism (PVE) and filling gaps in governments’ responses. But youth continue to encounter structural barriers to their meaningful participation in peace and security efforts.

Excluding youth from decision-making and peace efforts is detrimental to society

The position paper suggests that an intergenerational effort is the only way to address young people’s increasing distrust in institutions, solve the most pressing challenges of today and build up the world’s immune system ahead of the next crisis.

It lays out concrete recommendations drawn from Extremely Together’s series of virtual youth consultations and an online survey that engaged over 22,000 young people worldwide to reflect on the effects of the pandemic on young people’s PVE efforts. This year’s fifth anniversary of UNRSC 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security is a unique opportunity to accelerate the necessary shift from seeing youth as ‘not ready for the job’ to mainstreaming intergenerational co-leadership.

Find out more about the challenge of youth exclusion from decision-making, and what multilateral organisations, member states, young people, and youth groups can do.

Download the paper now

Find out more about what multilateral organisations, member states, young people, and youth groups can do with our illustrated videos:

Lifting barriers to youth participation in decision-making:

Enabling youth leadership in preventing violent extremism: