43% of the world is under age 25, and that number is over 50% in developing countries. This represents a half of the world that has long clamored to have its voice heard - and has found technology and social media to be the platforms that finally give them the influence they have long demanded. Just look to Egypt and the Arab Spring for potent examples of the power that youth wield today.
When the United Nations convened the Global Youth Forum - the first major UN Forum designed specifically for youth input on the development agenda - they came to us to help create a program that uses technology to expand the sphere of participation beyond walls of the Forum itself. We created a participatory brand and an online platform that allows youth to sign up as virtual delegates to participate from anywhere in the world (another first for the UN). The online discussion and recommendations were collected from the delegate platform, fed into the live discussion in Bali, and integrated into the official recommendations to be presented by the Secretary General to the UN General Assembly.
The platform proved so successful - engaging over 2500 youth representing every country in the world, including Antartica (!) – that it is being deployed for additional conferences including five Regional Population Conferences. The Bali Declaration that came out of the Global Youth Forum is considered one of the most progressive UN declarations to date, due to the input of the wide variety of youth who were truly engaged in the process for the first time.