UNFPAState of World Population 2004
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HOME: STATE OF WORLD POPULATION 2004: Adolescents and Young People
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Adolescents and Young People

Implementing the ICPD Consensus
Second Generation of Programmes
UNFPA Global Survey Findings
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Key Health and Development Concerns
Meeting Young People’s Needs
Promoting Healthier Behaviour
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Meeting Young People’s Needs

Helping adolescents and young people avoid unintended pregnancy and STIs including HIV requires educational efforts promoting responsible attitudes and healthier sexual behaviour, wider access to youthfriendly reproductive health services, training and life skills education and action to promote the rights of women and girls.

UNFPA focuses on ensuring that adolescent reproductive health and rights are included in national agendas and translated into policies and actions with tangible outcomes. The Fund works to promote human rights and gender equality, and to support young people’s successful transition to adulthood. Priority is given to reaching the most vulnerable—including those living in poverty or harsh circumstances, married youth, youth living with HIV/AIDS or orphaned because of the epidemic, and street children. UNFPA is also working to address adolescents’ health and rights more broadly, by emphasizing holistic programming that addresses a range of needs and is responsive to the broader social, economic and cultural context of young peoples’ lives.


“I believe when you learn, you’ll reach your dreams, but when you marry too young, you lose the chance to achieve your dreams,” says Safa, a 15-year-old girl from Yemen.

Safa is involved in a UNFPA-sponsored Girl Guides programme, one of many partnerships between the Fund and government, social and religious groups that work to raise awareness about the consequences of early marriage for girls, including the health risks of early pregnancy, lost developmental opportunities and limited life options.

Safa and others take part in a range of activities—crafts, sports, arts, and education about reproductive health and social issues. After five years in the programme, she is confident and eager to speak to her friends and family about what she’s learned, especially with regard to early marriage. While many of her peers have no choice but to marry young, she has other plans: “I want to be a lawyer—the most famous lawyer in all of Yemen.” See Sources

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