CIVIS January 2012: Youth: the face of Urbanisation

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The latest edition of the Cities Alliance CIVIS Notes series focuses on youth as the face of urbanisation. In the backdrop of youth-led mass uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region last spring, the paper underlines the Cities Alliance’s commitment to supporting the role of the youth in cities within – and outside – the MENA region.

Authored by former Cities Alliance team-member Hilde Refstie (now working with the Norwegian Refugee Council) and Federico Silva of the Cities Alliance Secretariat, the paper highlights that since youth constitute the major demographic in the urbanisation process, especially in the middle-east, it is imperative that youth issues are given full priority in the development agenda.

A peculiar feature of the MENA region’s demographics is the disproportionate ratio of young people to other age groups and an urbanisation rate, touching 70 per cent. A significant proportion of these youth are poorly educated and trapped in structural unemployment. Increasingly, they are demanding access to economic opportunities, democratic participation and political accountability.

The Cities Alliance is committed to supporting the full participation and representation of the youth in the development process. The Alliance believes that if youth are to be harnessed to their highest potential, they must feel safe, given an opportunity to lead healthy lives and be engaged in a positive way in development policy making and implementation.

This edition of CIVIS will be particularly useful to those interested in learning more about the theme of Cities Alliance’s Catalytic Fund Youth and the City: Challenges of and Visions for Demographic Change.

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