The Gibraltar Commonwealth Youth Association Highlights The Importance Of Youth Participation In Politics

By Kyle Bautista and Chris Cardona of the Gibraltar Commonwealth Youth Association:

The youth are a creative and dynamic source for innovative change, who throughout history have participated, contributed and even catalyzed important changes in political systems, power-sharing dynamics and economic opportunities.

This social group is the  driving force for development, they challenge the status quo and aid in modernizing  outdated systems. They provide a breath of fresh air and are therefore imperative in  ensuring societal development. From a political standpoint, the future generations are  not only important in challenging governments and institutions to re-think existing  practices and policies, but they are also the ones most affected, as it is their future at  stake.  

For political systems to be representative, all parts of the community must be included.  When young people are disenfranchised or disengaged from political processes, a  significant portion of the population has little to no voice, or influence in decisions that  affect group members’ lives.  

Globally, youth participation in politics is certainly on the rise, yet, there is still a long  way to go. For example, young people account for 60% of the Commonwealth’s  population, however, parliamentarians and legislatures in the Commonwealth have an  average age of 50. Furthermore, in the United Kingdom, the average age for Members  of Parliament is also 50. The youth and young people, although politically active by  constituting part of the electorate, are isolated from the decision-making forums and  processes. This is understandable due to the fact that the minimum age requirement to  become a Member of Parliament in a third of countries is 25.  

In order to respond to the needs of young people, and to guarantee their voices are  being heard and recognised, young people’s active and meaningful participation  in their societies and in political practices and processes is of crucial importance. Not  only do the youth help to promote civic action, having a strong youth participation in  politics helps to bridge the gap between generations and thus cultivate a unified society.  Individuals such as Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai as well as groups such as  Extinction Rebellion are all perfect examples that demonstrate the success and impact  young individuals can have.  

The Commonwealth, through its various forums and organisations, helps to provide the  youth with a platform and aid them to develop skills which they can then apply in their  own societies. In Gibraltar, the youth are extremely lucky to be represented by various  groups and organizations who allow for their concerns to be heard. Indeed, these  should be considered with the utmost importance and used, amongst other reasons,  to help 

channel the youth’s concerns and ensure they are at the heart of policymaking.  Nevertheless, these should not impact the need for continuous youth participation and  instead motivate young people to utilise these platforms to ensure that they are able to  contribute and help formulate legislation and policies which will affect them. The Gibraltar  Commonwealth Youth Association provides this very platform and will work closely with  the existing groups already in place 

Young people are the driving force for progressive change and development in society,  they question social norms, challenge the status quo and provide a new train of thought.  Their participation in politics is imperative and should not be undermined. They are a  strong force, one which can help to bring a society together and develop it to new heights.  

If you would like to get involved, the Gibraltar Commonwealth Youth Association can be  contacted by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.