A coalition of international experts and youth leaders moved a step closer to defining comprehensive indicators for youth development during a data symposium at the Commonwealth’s headquarters last week
The group, including representatives of the Commonwealth, United Nations, regional intergovernmental bodies, youth advocacy organisations and leading statisticians and academics, mapped out key measures such as youth employment, health, education and participation.
The youth indicators, once agreed, will allow national governments and international donors to chart the economic, social and political empowerment of young people, and target financial resources in ways that respond to the needs of those under 30.
At the symposium, the group of more than 70 stakeholders also discussed an advocacy strategy to ensure youth development and empowerment are recognised as global priorities when governments meet in September 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly. At that time, a new development framework will be approved to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire at the end of 2015.
Governments and donors will use the new global framework, with detailed goals, targets and indicators, to target development action and determine funding priorities from 2016 onwards.
"This meeting is really important because we are at a stage now when the international community is talking about all kinds of goals for development,” said one of the symposium participants, Albert Motivans, from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. “What we need are indicators that help us monitor if we are reaching the targets or not.”
Addressing the data symposium, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj noted that the meeting was building on years of work by agencies such as the World Bank, United Nations and the Commonwealth in identifying statistical measures of human and youth development.
An important landmark was reached in September 2013, when a Youth Development Index was launched by the Commonwealth. This composite index aggregates existing data sources to monitor youth development and empowerment across five key areas: education, health, employment, civic participation, and political participation.
Mr Maharaj said: “Our investment in devising the Index speaks eloquently of the Commonwealth’s commitment to young people and youth development, and our commitment to evidence based policymaking through monitoring progress in human development. This means constantly asking ‘Are we doing the right things, and are the right things being done well?’”
“Such moves will be critical in providing decision makers with the case to put young people at the very centre of the post-2015 global development.”
The expert group meeting, taking place between 19 and 20 June 2014 at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, was organised with input from UN-Habitat and UNDESA. It featured presentations from the UN’s Major Group on Children and Youth, Commonwealth Foundation, Commonwealth Youth Council, Institute for Economics and Peace, HelpAge International, European Youth Forum Task Force, and governments such as the UK and Sri Lanka, among others.
Nicola Shepherd, UN Focal Point on Youth and Co-Chair of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development said: "There are so many tools available to assist national governments and development partners, including youth-led organisations. These include the indicators for the World Programme of Action for Youth, the Youth Development Index, and many others. We hope to see how we can build on the vast body of work already being done and utilise these existing tools and resources to assist the governments and inform the agenda."
In April 2013, Commonwealth youth ministers recommended that a specific goal on youth participation and empowerment be included in the post-2015 development framework. This call was echoed by national leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka in November. Commonwealth leaders agree that recognising young people’s ability to contribute, as well as their development needs, is crucial to national progress.
Find out more about the campaign for a youth goal.
Visit the Youth Development Index and find out how you can contribute to future editions.
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Original Source: Commonwealth Secretariat