Road traffic crashes are the number one public health threat facing young people aged 15-29, yet all over the world, youth are excluded from the systems that decide how mobility is shaped. This needs to change. How can policy be effectively designed, implemented, and evaluated if we do not include the input and involvement of those impacted most?
The 2nd World Youth Assembly, initiated by YOURS - Youth for Road Safety (YOURS), will take place in Stockholm on February 18th, the eve of the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety. The Assembly will bring together young people who want to take action for the biggest public health threat of their time and demand a seat at the decision-making table.
Floor Lieshout, Founder and Executive Director of YOURS, said, "If leaders are not coming to the youth, then we will bring the youth to them. Our leaders must start listening and working with young people in a meaningful way, asking them questions, informing them, and involving them in the process of change. Young people are not only the next generation of leaders in the field but live in a reality where so many are being killed on the road around them today. It is crucial that meaningful youth participation is embedded in the culture of change and development to stop this global scourge
Nearly half the world's population is under the age of 29. The continued exclusion of young people from decision-making is simply not acceptable. The 2nd World Youth Assembly will give young people a platform to raise awareness about their vulnerable position and enable them to claim their space in their communities, on the streets, and at the decision-making table. The aim of the Assembly is to empower youth to participate meaningfully by boosting their knowledge, building their capacity, and encouraging them to break the ice and form partnerships among youth, across sectors, and most importantly, across generations.
"When I look back at my own experience speaking at conferences, I was not bold or radical enough. We need to create a sense of urgency by speaking truth to power, making it known that we are frustrated and must hold our leaders accountable, refusing to accept business as usual, and demanding a seat at the table." Said Floor.
"After the 2nd World Youth Assembly, I hope to see more young people engaged in the road safety community. I hope to see them advocating for their rights, marching the streets and implementing new projects to reduce road crashes amongst their peers. I hope to see governments reaching out to young people in meaningful ways with a long-term vision to build youth participation into the process of designing, implementing and evaluating policies and interventions directed at youth."
All youth delegates attending the conference will have the opportunity to send a project proposal to YOURS. The creators of the most innovative and groundbreaking proposals will be invited to pitch their ideas at the Assembly, and winners will receive a seed grant to help them implement their projects in their countries.
Up to 200 young leaders, aged 18-29, will be coming from 75+ countries across the globe to attend the Assembly. They are students, volunteers, activists and professionals from the private, public, civil society, and academic sectors who are already acting as change agents within the field of road safety and other relevant fields. The Assembly aims to energize them to build further momentum and push for meaningful change at the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference for Road Safety and for the future.
Over 1500 young people from 55 countries took part in the Youth Consultations from around the world to engage in their communities to discuss youth and road safety issues and safe mobility. These voices will form the Global Youth Statement for Road Safety.
You can watch the event live through our live-stream of the event at our website www.wyaroadsafety.org and follow us on social media @WYARoadSafety to see the action unfold. Youth delegates will be using the hashtag #ClaimingOurSpace and #WYARoadSafety.
If you are unable to attend the conference, check that your ministers signed up for the Stockholm Declaration. Contact them and hold them accountable for the promises they have made. Ask your leaders for an implementation or action plan and push them to take the action necessary to increase road safety in your countries and communities.