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Foreword Director Newsletter April 2021

Future generations are a key factor in NATO's changing strategic environment, not only as a current social and demographic force of great influence but also as a source of inspiration to guide us towards making the best of such an opportunity.

NATO 2030 anticipates NATO's alignment with the fundamentally changing strategic environment. This initiative includes the NATO Secretary General engaging with young leaders and asking them to provide fresh thinking on how to further strengthen the Alliance in order to better achieve the NATO 2030 priorities.

The report these young leaders released, entitled "Embrace the change, guard the values" is aimed at providing ambitious 'moon shot' ideas for the future of the Alliance, focusing on a range of key issues that are of great relevance to the HUB.

The report states the importance of NATO's ability to "broaden and reconceptualize security to more accurately account for the evolving threats", while maintaining NATO's traditional posture. It underlines the inter-connectedness of security challenges and leans towards "recommendations that reflect a more comprehensive, holistic, and inclusive understanding of security towards the 2030s". The young leaders argue that non-traditional security challenges should be placed more prominently on NATO's agenda and look beyond hard-power alone to respond to todays and tomorrow's challenges.

I believe these NATO young leaders can help us better interpret and appreciate the challenge of the Youth Bulge in the South. By 2050, the population of Africa is expected to double. The challenge is how to ensure that this increasing societal element can be directed towards becoming a positive demographic dividend.

The youth need access to good education, opportunities for jobs, social and economic inclusion and political participation. Recognizing their potential to contribute to stability and cooperation is fundamental and calls for opportunities where their voices and ideas are heard. Increasing younger population participation in political processes will prevent the emergence of political violence and instability.

Instability and lack of prospects in the South could force more people to look for a better future elsewhere causing an irreplaceable loss of Human capital in their countries of origin, the so called "Brain drain" effect.

This newsletter includes the outcomes of the Hub's project on this topic, which looks at the Youth Bulge from three separate perspectives: Education and Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa; Empowerment and Radicalisation; and Migration and The Brain Drain. The three Youth Bulge reports are the products of our joint research and collaborations. They are produced with in cooperation /collaboration with partners from the South, which crucially includes their precious local and regional perspectives.

Within a broadened and re-conceptualized understanding of security, the Youth Bulge should be firmly on any international agenda, since it is a determining factor, in both the challenges and the solutions, also regarding the stability in the South. We intend our efforts and publications to support improved mutual understanding of these issues and to contribute towards ensuring the greatest positive use of such an opportunity.


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