This brief is based on the editorial from Environment and Urbanization Vol 22, No 2, October 2010.
Youth make up around one-quarter of the world's population. But the challenges they face are given relatively little attention. They are often portrayed as the problem - the unemployed, disaffected, irresponsible generation, a "ticking time bomb" likely to explode, spreading violence and chaos. Or they can be seen as victims - of HIV, violence and sexual abuse; of discrimination, unemployment and exploitation. They can also be viewed as a repository of knowledge, energy, vision, which must be tapped to solve the world's problems. More effort is needed to go beyond these stereotypes, to listen to and support the efforts of young people to find opportunities, develop livelihoods, shape the settlements in which they live, and engage as citizens with adults and with local governments.
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