Statement by the Secretary General Thomas E. Garrett on International Day of Democracy

September 15, 2023 

On today’s International Day of Democracy, I join UN Secretary-General Guterres in calling for the advancement of meaningful youth participation in decision-making processes at every level.

Under the theme of “Empowering the Next Generation,” the 2023 International Day of Democracy speaks to the essential role of youth in safeguarding democracy today and in the future.

Given the world’s growing youth population, their meaningful engagement is crucial to building strong and resilient democracies and ensuring that democracies are more responsive to the needs and aspirations of all citizens. As we can see worldwide, from Africa to Asia to Europe to the Americas, many young people feel disconnected from current political leadership and excluded from public life. As I highlighted in my International Youth Day statement, understanding and breaking down barriers that limit meaningful youth engagement and participation is vital to bridge this gap.

At the Community of Democracies, promoting youth inclusion in democratic processes is integral to our work to protect and strengthen democracy worldwide. In August, we welcomed a new cohort of CoD YouthLeads who provided valuable advice to our Member States on increasing the participation of young people in democracies.

As we mark International Day of Democracy, let me reiterate the Community of Democracies’ unwavering support to advance young people’s engagement in public life in all areas of democratic governance.