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The Body Shop and the UN Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth have conducted a comprehensive analysis of the issues young people face. Read on to discover some of the report’s key findings.

Every day, thousands of important decisions are made about the future of planet Earth and the societies that call it home, but there are billions of young people who have no part in making them. They have no voice, no power and no stake in shaping the world they will inherit.

The Body Shop and the UN Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth have collaborated on a joint report into the issues affecting young people. It’s the largest ever report carried out by The Body Shop – we talked to 27,043 people, from 26 countries, out of which 14,160 were under 30 years old.

The Be Seen. Be Heard Global Youth Report seeks to address some of the false narratives held about young people that are used as arguments to prevent them from participating. Here's a rundown of the global picture.


There are a vast amount of young people. Young people aged 15-24 constitute nearly 16% of the world’s population, rising to 50% for people aged 30 or younger. This number is expected to grow and reach 57% by the end of 2030. 10.9 billion are expected to be born this century.

Currently only 2.8% of parliamentarians globally are under 30. This is very low. Globally, the average minimum age of candidates to be allowed to run is 22.5, almost 4 years older than voting age. The report digs into why and how these age gaps hold young people back.

Below is a shorter summary of the full report by The Body Shop and the UN Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. Why not give the whole thing a read here?

Young people are often mislabelled as disinterested in civic, social and political issues. They are not. Young people are also not a homogenous group - they have diverse experiences and concerns, and engage in public affairs in many different ways. From protest to community leadership, the report finds that young people are already actively engaging in politics, just not in the formal spaces where decisions that affect society are made.

People feel that political systems are broken and trust in institutions is low.84% of people think politicians are ‘self-interested’ and 75% of people think they’re corrupt.

There is solid argument for engaging young people, including giving voting rights to 16 and 17 year-olds. The results of the Be Seen. Be Heard Global Youth Report showed that. All age groups surveyed think that 16-18 is the ideal voting age. 8 in 10 people of all ages think the voting age should be 18 or lower.

All over the world, young people are already actively engaging in politics. For example 15-17 year-olds are 4.5 times more likely to hold a community leadership position than over 60s.

Young people protest because they are not being heard elsewhere. The Body Shop research found why 15-23 year-olds are four times more likely than over 30s to have actively taken part in protest movements.

But the majority of people agree that the age balance in politics is wrong and more than two-thirds (69%) of people across all age groups agree that more opportunities for younger people to have a say in policy would make political systems better.

If you want to know more about why it’s important that young people’s needs and rights as citizens are respected.

Join our campaign to amplify youth voices in public life