Listening to young people
As part of the process leading to the development of the 2013 Report, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs organized a number of interactive activities, including an online survey, weekly e-consultations, a Google+ Hangout with young people and experts, and a call for artistic pieces produced by youth. The Department set up a dedicated web platform (www.unworldyouthreport.org) to allow youth to contribute their personal stories and perspectives on how migration affected them, whether they were prospective migrants, immigrants, return migrants, or young people left behind by migrant parents.
All of the activities were promoted through various channels, including relevant social media platforms and youth networks, and were carried out between 23 January and 10 March 2013. Although efforts were made to encourage the participation of young people around the world, the responses provided may not reflect the full breadth of the challenges and opportunities associated with youth migration.
The consultation process: e-consultation
The Department of Economic and Social Affairs organized a five-week consultative and interactive discussion with young migrants and other youth affected by migration. During the weekly e-consultations, held from 23 January - 24 February 2013 via designated web pages on the World Youth Report web platform, the following key issues were discussed:
- Week 1: The experiences of youth preparing to migrate from their places of origin to other communities or countries;
- Week 2: Young migrants’ experiences in transit countries;
- Week 3: The challenges and opportunities experienced by youth migrants in destination countries, as well as particular challenges and opportunities linked to permanent and return migration;
- Week 4: Social and economic impacts of migration on youth left behind in countries of origin by their migrant parents;
- Week 5: Youth employment and labour migration. For each of these weekly discussions, a guest moderator was invited to guide the discussion with the lead moderator.
One to three questions were posted each day on the week’s topic, along with follow-up questions for the various responses. More than 500 comments were exchanged between youth participants and moderators in the e-consultations.
Surveying youth migrants and returnees
The Department of Economic and Social Affairs produced and administered an online questionnaire on youth migration using SurveyMonkey. The questions were designed to identify the livelihood challenges and opportunities young people encountered in the migration process (from planning and preparation to permanent migration or return). The survey was conducted from 23 January to 10 March 2013 and was open to migrants and return migrants aged 15-35 years. The survey included 57 questions covering a range of issues relating to the social and economic characteristics and livelihood experiences of young migrants and return migrants. Along with multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions were incorporated to encourage respondents to provide more detailed information and observations. Open-ended questions invited comments and suggestions on how to address challenges associated with youth migration. For the e-consultations most young people provided their exact age, but the survey respondents selected only an age range. Every effort was made to preserve the anonymity of respondents, given the sensitivities surrounding the legal status of many migrants/immigrants and their livelihoods. The survey elicited 262 responses. Almost two-thirds of the respondents were female. Among those who indicated their age range, young people between the ages of 19 and 25 comprised the largest group (34.1 per cent), followed by youth aged 26-29 years (29.8 per cent), those aged 30-35 years (28.3 per cent), and 15- to 18-year-olds (7.8 per cent). The young respondents shared information and personal experiences relating to their places of origin and destination. The survey and the participant responses can be found in the annex of this publication.
Photos and illustrations
Seeking to bring additional meaning to the findings of the e-consultation and survey, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs invited young people to contribute paintings, cartoons and photographs for possible inclusion in the Report. The submissions highlighted the positive and negative effects of internal and international migration on young people, migrant families, and their nations as a whole. Some of the images illustrated what youth organizations are doing to address migration challenges in their respective communities or countries.
Young migrants/immigrants in destination societies and returnees were invited to share their personal stories. These stories have contributed to a better understanding of the various trajectories of youth migration (pre-departure, transit, arrival, post-arrival, and return/no-return) and their impact on the social and economic livelihoods of youth.
Google+ Hangout on Youth Migration and Development
The United Nations Focal Point on Youth held a Google+ Hangout on 6 March 2013, during which a panel of experts and youth representatives engaged in a discussion based on the theme “Youth Migration and Development: Towards Sustainable Solutions.” The Hangout participants explored practical strategies for realizing youth migrants’ potential, protecting their human rights and promoting their social inclusion, and discussed how these goals could be achieved through collaborative efforts with youth organizations and other relevant stakeholders. The Google+ Hangout featured a one-hour live discussion as well as a question-and-answer session with panelists from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, International Organization for Migration, and Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations and two youth representatives.
Participants in the process
Prior to the commencement of the interactive activities, the organizers engaged in direct outreach to young migrants via e-mail, social media, and organizations working with or for youth affected by migration. The United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development and the partner youth organizations mentioned earlier supported the dissemination of information pertaining to this initiative. For the purpose of this Report, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs invited the participation of young people aged 15-35 years – a range that encompasses the ages of most countries definition of youth and deemed optimal given that the highest proportion of young migrants are between the ages of 20 and 34 (United Nations, 2013a). Representatives of youth-led organizations were also invited to share their perspectives and experiences on youth and migration. Thanks to the support of some youth representatives and youth organizations, it was possible to collect information on the perspectives of youth who had little or no access to the Internet or online platforms, thereby ensuring an inclusive participatory process.
 Participants in the e-consultation were based in Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Zimbabwe.