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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.1 General context

Last update: 20 September 2021
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  1. Main concepts
  2. Youth interest in global issues

Main concepts

There are no specific concepts relating to global issues that would significantly differ from those in the common European discussion.

Youth interest in global issues

In 2018 (published in 2019), the Youth Barometer (the volume is titled as ‘Influence on the Edge of Europe’ see infographics and the press release) conducted research on the theme of politics and young people’s expectations for the future, among other topics. The Youth Barometer annually measures the values and attitudes of young people, aged 15 to 29 living in Finland. The Youth Barometer addresses issues that are topical from young people’s perspective, although some survey questions are repeated regularly. The Youth Barometer is published by the State Youth Council in cooperation with the Finnish Youth Research Society & Youth Research Network. The Youth Barometer 2018 was edited by Elina Pekkarinen and Sami Myllyniemi. 

According to the results, 61 per cent of young people are interested in politics and the share has — to a certain extent — increased. Correspondingly, the proportion of those who are completely indifferent to politics is lower today than it has ever been in the last 20-year studied period. The number of respondents who have participated in political activity has also increased, especially among those under the age of 20. Young people felt that the most effective ways to have an influence are to stand for election, to vote and to actively participate in an organisation or youth council. The share of young people who believe that purchase decisions are an effective way to take a stand has increased, from under one third in 2013 to 57 per cent. The share of those who consider political discussion an effective way of having an impact has also grown. Young people have chiefly participated by voting, with purchase decisions and by discussing political issues. The share of those who have demonstrated their influence with their purchase decisions has risen significantly.

There is roughly the same amount of young people who are optimistic (32%) about the future of the world as there are pessimistic (33%), and both ends of the continuum seems to grow when compared to earlier years. What has also grown, is the amount of young people feeling insecure when it comes to worldwide threats such as climate change (67% of the respondents are feeling very or fairly threatened), international terrorism (60%), world policy situation (40%) and weapons of mass destruction (40%). On the other hand, young people were asked their opinion on whether ‘young people should be taught how to solve conflicts.’ Almost 90% of the respondents agreed. 80% also took stand on ‘peace being a matter of will’ and two thirds expressed the opinion that conflicts can be solved through negotiation.