Keeping Young People at the Heart of Development

Keeping Young People at the Heart of Development
Partnering with young people is critical to effective development policies regarding youth.
  • 10 August 2012

Almost 20 years ago, 179 Member States convening at the International Conference on Population and Development agreed to protect the rights of young people, particularly in the areas of sexual and reproductive health.

Yet, progress on youth issues is lagging. In almost every country in the world equitable access to health, education, jobs and human rights is still an outstanding issue for young people.

In an effort to more fully engage youth, and unleash their energy and dynamism, UNFPA is launching the Global Youth Forum to take place in Bali this December. The Forum will bring together 900 youth, government, private sector and non-governmental representatives. About half of that number will be youth delegates. Thousands more young people will be able to participate virtually.

"The idea is to build a movement that enables youth leadership in development issues and that helps young people to engage using the connections and technology that are part of their daily conversations," said ICPD Beyond 2014 Coordinator Kwabena Osei Danquah. The Forum aims to ensure that the experiences and views of youth on critical issues such as health, education, jobs and sexuality are reflected in the development agenda after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals, in their current form, will have expired.

UNFPA has committed itself to delivering a world where every young person's potential is fulfilled. By facilitating dialogue and dynamic partnership with youth, UNFPA hopes to harness the energy and imagination of youth to build a United Nations system that is more responsive to the 43 per cent of the world's population under the age of 25.

In the words of UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, "The vision and activism of today’s young people should be recognized as central to development.  With collective efforts and resources, we can create just and healthy lives for young people and the generations to follow."

The ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum is being hosted by the Indonesian Government and will take place on 4-6 December 2012. Applications for country representatives who are under 30 (preferably under 25) and have a track record and passion for advocating on ICPD issues are now being accepted. Applicants who are selected to attend Bali will be financially supported to attend. More information is available from the ICPD Beyond 2014 website.

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