Is the new international cooperation paradigm an opportunity for global youth?

In the last decade, also due to the exacerbation of the effects of the climate change on the environment and the global population, we are witnessing a mobilization of ideas and actions from the global youth that is probably unprecedented in history.

The awareness about the interconnection between local actions and their impact on the global communities is currently stronger than ever before.

What the States have established in 2016, through the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), leading only to weak improvements, is finding strength, determination, and courage among the global youth community. We could probably say that the globalization of the economies that started in the ’90 is finding its counterpart in the globalization of the citizenship, led by the youth in the years 2020.

Their involvement in the destiny of our planet is made both by large civil mobilizations and responsible everyday life choices. Concepts as global responsibility and sustainability, once prerogative of a small community of people that dedicated to these for passion or professional reasons, have undergone a strong democratization process.

In this scenario youth are questioning more and more their role, also professional, vis à vis the global development challenges. What was often born as a mobilization of consciousnesses for a fairer world, now leads more and more youth to bring a contribution in this direction, also through their work.

The opportunity to travel low cost and to be personally in touch with the local communities in emerging and developing Countries, makes some youth interested in contributing to the constructive processes of sustainable development. For these reasons also we deal always more with youth looking with interest to the international cooperation environment.

If this world was formerly considered as restricted to some specifics professional profiles, today thanks to the evolution of policies and practices in international development, we observe new opportunities and scenarios.

When thinking about the international cooperation professionals, we used to refer to some classic profiles, mainly in the health sector, agronomists, some fields of engineering (hydraulic, constructions), together with the programme management profiles (usually experts with a background in international politics or international economics).

New approaches to international cooperation see the involvement of new actors and the design of new instruments. Together with the international organisations, new protagonists in these processes are the business, the international foundations, the cultural and the art sectors, the (new) media, the development finance and impact investing, the Academia, and any other forms of civil society organisations.

This multitude of actors are due to operate in partnership, in the view of enhancing local institutions and organisations, to implement those processes characterized by mutual collaboration and multilateral cooperation. The achievement of the SDGs by 2030 is strictly connected with the ownership of the local development processes by the Partner Countries and by the local civil society.

This epochal change will necessarily need a progressive reduction of the historical aid concept, steadily enhancing the processes of co-development and transfer of expertise, with more resources, more instruments, and innovative strategies.

In this scenario we observe an urgent need of young professionals that may merge the commitment in the promotion of a fairer world, with new specific skills, together with the capacity of thinking out of the box, to reach the ambitious goals set by the 2030 Agenda for development.

There are big opportunities in international cooperation for youth looking to be young professionals in the field of communication and the new media, environmental economics, waste management, renewable energies and circular economy, for young architects and urbanists who wish to cooperate with local colleagues in the design of the new sustainable cities. And this is just to mention a few.

What the international cooperation mostly needs are innovators, people with the capacity and the attitude of thinking and acting in innovative manners, to avoid repeating the mistakes the international cooperation has made in the past years.

As (already) global citizens the European youth are the natural recipients of a “call to action”, as protagonists of the new international cooperation, to design a world that is more just, fair, sustainable for the environment and for all the human beings.


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