Building a Better World, Partnering with Youth

A Glimpse at How the UN is Engaging with Youth Across the Globe


UN ECOSOC Youth Forum:  Shaping Tomorrow’s Innovators - Leveraging Science, Technology, Innovation and Culture for Today’s Youth
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will convene its Youth Forum 2013 on 27 March 2013 at United Nations Headquarters in New York, in collaboration with several UN Agencies, including UNDP. MORE>


Empowering Youth for Sustainable Human Development
On Thursday 14 February 2013, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is hosting an important and timely discussion on youth empowerment and participation for sustainable human development. MORE>


United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD)
In the spirit of UN coherence and cooperation, the IANYD aims to increase the effectiveness of UN work in youth development by strengthening collaboration  among all relevant UN entities. Following the Secretary-General's 2012 Five-year Action Agenda, the IANYD will develop and implement an action plan, create a youth volunteer programme under the umbrella of the UN Volunteers, and appoint a Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Youth, focusing its work around 3 priority areas of engagement:
(1) employment and entrepreneurship;
(2) education; and
(3) Youth participation, political inclusion, citizenship and  protection of rights. MORE>


United Nations Programme on Youth
The Focal Point on Youth – part of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) – aims to increase awareness of the global situation, rights and aspirations of young people, as well as promote national youth policies and programmes of action integrated with social and economic development, and in cooperation with both governmental and non-governmental organizations. The Focal Point also works to increase participation of young people in decision-making processes at all levels in order to expand their impact on national development, peace and international cooperation. MORE>


Youth 21
Youth 21 brings together young people from across the world to engage with the United Nations and nurture youth leadership for democratic governance and sustainable development. As part of the Youth 21 global initiative, UN-HABITAT and UNDP hosted the Building for Change Stakeholder Meeting and Global Youth Leadership Forum on 15-18 March 2012 at the United Nations compound in Nairobi. Youth from across the globe, senior leaders of the United Nations, Governments and Civil Society participated in this meeting with the immediate goal of finding better ways to engage youth as leaders and decision-makers globally. MORE>


UNOSDP: Youth Leadership Camp
Many highly motivated youth tirelessly support their communities by volunteering to work on social and sport for development projects, yet have only very basic education levels, limited resources with which to carry out their projects and do not have a proper forum where they can learn best practices in the field or develop their leadership skills. With this in mind, the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), conceived the idea of a “Youth Leadership Camp” in order to support young people by giving them access to the training necessary to improve both their projects and their own professional progress, and supporting them once they go back to their communities. MORE>


UNESCO: Acting with and for Youth
UNESCO's objective is to help empower young people, reaching out to them, responding to their expectations and ideas, fostering useful and long-lasting skills. This includes joining forces with civil society and other UN Agencies to, for example, develop Global Youth Development Indicators; alleviate youth poverty; work with – and for – youth with disabilities, HIV/AIDS and marginalized adolescent girls; advocate for young people’s rights and needs at the country-level, support the capacity-building of youth organizations and holding a Youth Forum. MORE>


UNFPA: Supporting Adolescents and Youth
About one-quarter of the world's people is between 10 to 24 years old. Yet, of the 1.8 billion young people in the world today, about half survive on less than $2 a day, more than 100 million do not attend school, 16 million adolescent girls become mothers every year and almost 40 per cent of the daily 6,800 new HIV infections are among young people. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) focuses on incorporating youth issues into national development and poverty-reduction strategies; expanding access to gender-sensitive sexual and reproductive health education; promoting a core package of health services and commodities for young people and encouraging youth leadership and participation. MORE>


UNICEF’s Support to Adolescents
UNICEF works with and for adolescents to involve them in life-affirming activities. When they are appreciated as sources of energy, imagination and passion, young people flourish and so do their communities. One of UNICEF’s best-known youth initiatives is the Voices of Youth (VOY) website. Since 1995, VOY has explored the educational and community-building potential of the Internet, facilitating the active participation of young people in discussions on child rights and development. UNICEF is also very active in the area of adolescents and HIV/AIDS, adolescents in emergencies and adolescent girls. MORE>


UNEP: Tunza Youth Strategy
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Tunza Youth Strategy aims to engage young people in environmental activities. The word “TUNZA” means “to treat with care or affection” in Kiswahili (a sub-regional language of Eastern Africa). The overall Tunza Concept is built around this theme, it is an initiative that is meant to develop activities in the areas of capacity building, environmental awareness, and information exchange, with a vision to foster a generation of environmentally conscious citizens, capable of positive action. Important by-products of this strategy include the annual Tunza International Youth Conference, Tunza Advisory Council and a quarterly Tunza magazine. MORE>


ILO: Youth Employment Programme
Of the world's estimated 207 million unemployed people in 2010, nearly 40 per cent – about 75 million – were between 15 and 24 years of age. In many countries, this is further aggravated by the large number of youth engaged in poor quality and low paid jobs, often in the informal economy. Many youth are poor or underemployed: some 228 million working poor youth in the world, live on less than the equivalent of US$ 2 per day. This is why the International Labour Organization (ILO) implements the Programme on Youth Employment (YEP), which assists countries in developing consistent and coordinated policies and programmes on youth employment. MORE>


UNODC: The Global Youth Network
The Global Youth Network project is run by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to increase youth involvement in developing drug abuse prevention policies and programmes. The Network hopes to create a community of interest among youth and youth workers in the field of drug abuse prevention. The network has three main objectives: increase communication between youth groups and UNODC; collect and disseminate information on good practices and build the capacity of youth groups across the world to successfully conceptualise and implement drug abuse prevention projects. MORE>


FAO: Youth in Agriculture
Recent projections state that in the next 40 years the world’s population will increase from 7 billion to over 10 billion. At the same time, agriculture is an ageing and undervalued profession for which there is a declining interest among young people. Who will feed this growing population and how? In order to tackle this issue, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is focusing on encouraging young people into careers in all aspects of Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D). It is key, for example, that young people help identify what changes are needed in agricultural education to make careers more attractive and valued. MORE>


WHO: Adolescent Health
The World Health Organization (WHO) works through programmes such as the Global School Health Initiative, to mobilise and strengthen health promotion and education activities at the local, national, regional and global levels. WHO promotes school health programmes as a means to prevent important health risks among youth and to engage the education sector in efforts to change the educational, social, economic and political conditions that affect these risks. WHO also works on making existing health facilities more 'friendly' to adolescents, so that accessing the services they need is made easier. MORE>


The UN, Youth and Volunteerism
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) cooperates with its partners to build the capacities of youth to ensure their full participation in their communities, engaging daily in a variety of youth-oriented activities. Earlier this year, the UN Secretary-General announced that he will expand the United Nations Volunteers programme, to open its doors for young people, and will appoint the first-ever United Nations Special Adviser on Youth. Most recently, UNV was actively involved with the Government of Brazil and UNDP in the training of 1,200 young volunteers for the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, which took place from 20 to 22 June in Rio de Janeiro. MORE>


UN-HABITAT and Youth
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) recognizes young people as active participants in the future of human settlements. Today’s youth are already conceiving, designing and implementing successful community-building projects in some of the most marginalized regions of the world. Young people need acknowledgement, guidance and training in order to reach their full potential. In response, UN-HABITAT engages with young men and women in order to understand their diverse abilities, realities and experiences and to help formulate an international understanding of pressing youth issues. MORE>

Have YOUR Say!
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Are you between 15 and 40 years old? Then we want to hear from you! UN ECOSOC has launched this online forum to put a spotlight on the potential of young people as problem-solvers, innovators and actors for development. Help us shape the decisions and include your voices as world leaders come together for the annual meeting in Geneva this July.

Click HERE and have your say!
Recent Publications
UNDP Youth Strategy 2014-2017

The UNDP Youth Strategy offers key entry points for systematic and coordinated action to support youth within an increasingly complex development context for their social, economic and political development.

Expanding the Capacities of Qatari Youth (2012)

Qatar’s third National Human Development Report sees youth as a critical force in shaping national development.

Empowering Somali Youth for Peace and Development (2012)

Although the majority of Somali youth believe they have a right to education and decent work, they feel disempowered by multiple structural barriers. Radical shifts in policies and attitudes are needed to empower and place them at the core of the development agenda.