20,000 young people from Latin America and the Caribbean call on leaders to take action at the EU-CELAC Summit

A U-Report poll conducted by UNICEF and the European Union reveals their main concerns about technology, social issues and the environment

17 July 2023

Panama City, Panama. 17 July 2023.- In the lead up to the EU-CELAC Summit, around 20,000 youth in Latin America and the Caribbean participated in a U-Report poll conducted by UNICEF and the European Union (EU) to get their opinions on technology, education, climate change, and security.

Two in three young people consulted think limited access to digital technology hinders their opportunities to learn. Almost half of them want to see more investments in digital infrastructure.

“U-Report is a global platform where we collect information to advocate for leaders to improve laws, programs, and services. It’s a tool that empowers young people to actively participate in decisionmaking. For me, it’s a space where we can engage in dialogue, build community and take action,” said Marla Bolvito, a UNICEF Youth Advocate from Guatemala.

Climate change was another key concern raised through the poll. Three in ten young people consulted say that air and water pollution are the main environmental problems in their communities, followed by garbage and waste collection, especially in urban areas. Poll participants call on governments to promote environmental education, laws and policies to protect the environment.

“As a climate activist, I am thrilled that environmental transformation is at the heart of the youth agenda. We young people are already taking action to address the challenges we face, but there is still limited space for us to participate in decision-making,” said Kelly Guevara, a UNICEF Youth Advocate from Peru.

The poll also found that young people prioritize the social agenda, calling on governments to take action on education, health, employment and poverty. To many, unsafe communities undermine their capacity to develop and participate.

“4 out of 5 young people consulted believe that political leaders should pay more attention to them and consider their needs. UNICEF and the European Union are committed to understanding the challenges that young people face, and actively encourage them to raise their voices because their opinions hold significance. Young people possess the power to advocate for their rights and initiate meaningful actions to change the world,” said Garry Conille, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The EU is committed to engage young people and enable their meaningful participation in its external action by supporting the involvement of young people worldwide in policy-making and boosting their participation and engagement in international fora. The consultation, conducted to bring youth voices to the centre of the EU-CELAC partnership, used U-Report, UNICEF’s flagship digital platform for adolescent and youth community participation.

“Young people are catalysts for change and allies in building a more promising future in the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean. The European Union firmly believes that young people should have seats at decision-making tables, as stated in our first-ever Youth Action Plan in EU External Action," said Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships. "The U-Report is as a valuable tool, which facilitates direct communication and fosters a collective youth vision, which will feed into our efforts launched at the EU-CELAC Summit to boost the partnership between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean".

Media contacts

Sendai Zea
Communication Specialist (Emergencies)
UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean
Tel: +507 6821 0843
Marco Carraro
UNICEF Brussels Office
Tel: +962 790322776

Additional resources

Two adolescents, members of U-Report Guatemala

Youth from Latin America and the Caribbean call on leaders to take action at the EU-CELAC Summit

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