Oct 18 – International Year of Youth policies and implementation
The below discussion pertains to general policies on Youth implemented by various UN bodies during the International Year of Youth. This session was moderated very well by Ms. Monique Coleman, UN Champion for Youth, who toured the world for 6 months promoting youth participation. http://social.un.org/youthyear/Coleman.html
Results of the High Level Meeting on Youth in UN HQ in New York (July 2011)
presented by Ms. Nicola Shephard (UN Focal Point on Youth)
Mrs. Shephard mentioned that a lot of conferences took places in 2011 as a result of the International Year of Youth. She mentioned WYC 2010 in Istanbul, which was attended by Anne Lemieux, Laura Prazeres, Kathleen Wilson and myself, as well as many other UNESCO participants around the world participating in the UNESCO workshops there.
As a result of the High Level Meeting on Youth in New York in Jule 2011, 4 key messages came out.
- There was a clear need to invest in youth, especially in regard to education, access to medicine, and employment opportunities.
- Building on the contributions that youth are making to society.
- Full and meaningful participation of youth in decision-making processes and bodies.
- In order for participation to happen, the development challenges such as social exclusion, employment, and poverty must be overcome.
There were 5 recommendations that the UN asked the UN Porgramme on Youth to implement:
- Support the youth delegates program in the UN in New York.
- Promote a broader youth agenda.
- Enhance coordination of youth priorities in UN system.
- Submit a report of national experiences and what youth are doing all over the world.
- Develop a set of indicators to monitor and evaluate what young people are doing.
ILO- UN Interagency Network on Youth Development
Presented by Mr. Gianni Rosas, Coordinator of the Youth Employment Program at the International Labour Organization (ILO)
The Youth Employment Program is composed of 34 UN agencies and has a permanent chair (Ms. Nicola Shepherd, from above). The Program works on 3 key areas:
1. Increase investment in youth
2. Increase youth particpation and partnership
3. Increase intercultural understanding
The speech was a basic summary of what the ILO is doing to promote youth employment. For more info, see: http://www.ilo.org/employment/areas/youth-employment/WCMS_118114/lang–it/index.htm
A consolidation of all the youth conferences around the world
Presented by Ms. Maria Kypriotou, Social and Human Sciences Sector at UNESCO
Overall, this was a very interesting piece of research pursued by the UNESCO Youth section, and shed light on a lot of the international youth conferences that were happening.
Ms. Kypriotou mentioned: « What do we actually mean when we say that youth are driving change? Do we actually consider the youth voice? We all know that there are so many youth meetings around the world…but the question is – what happens to those recommendations? »
As a result, UNESCO decided to look at the results of all the 60 regional and global youth meetings over the past 3 years. Then, they identified the repeated recommendations that reoccured during these meetings. These reoccuring recommendations show us where the gaps in youth needs are. The following are the broad recommendations made at most international youth meetings.
1. Education – the main focus should be on quality, relevance and adaptability, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS prevention
2. Economic participation and poverty reduction, including employment policies, social entrepreneurship, job placements, and scholarshios
3. Sustainbilility – inclusion, democratic participation, cultural diversity, prevention of violence and social conflict
4. Civic engagement and social innovation – community service and volunteerism, and enabling family
5. New technologies and media – ICT literacy, freedom of expresion, social responsibility
6. Health care – improved public policies, access and quality of health care provided to youth, non-discrimination
Themes that come across all of these areas are:
1. Gender – young women and adolescent girls
2. Conflict settings
3. Vulnerable groups
Youth are telling the UN that we need better knowledge on the situation of youth (especially in the form of developing meaningful indicators, but also better collaboration with partners). Once better indicators are created, this will help us advocate better, which will lead to better investments in youth on behalf of the UN agencies.