2015 has a special significance for all of us. We look beyond the Millennium Development Goals and feel more and more excited about the bold, ambitious and inclusive development agenda that is shaping up.
It is vital to ensure that 2015 is also a turning point for youth participation.
Youth are eager and ready to contribute. They not only expect to have a say in defining the sustainable development priorities for the next fifteen years but also want to be seen as equal partners in the implementation and monitoring of this agenda.
It is no secret that young people remain largely excluded from political, civic, economic and social processes at all levels. At UNDP, our Youth Strategy for 2014-2017outlines our vision for engaging and empowering youth in governance, in jobs and livelihoods, and in strengthening their communities and societies.
That work includes promoting youth political participation and young women in decision-making, advocating for youth-ledmonitoring and accountability and strengthening the capacities of youth organizations and networks of young social innovators. And we want to make this programming more coherent and sustainable, and to open more doors for youth toget involved with our work, propose solutions, share experiences, participate in our activities, hold us accountable, champion the development agenda.
What are we doing in 2015?
UNDP plays a particular role this year, as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development. In that capacity, we work hand in hand with the UN System Focal Point on Youth, permanent co-chair of the Network, and many UN entities, such as UNFPA, UNESCO, UN-Habitat, to share knowledge and exchange experiences, and strengthen the UN coherence and coordination on youth. Some of our key priorities this year have included:
- ensuring a more systematic embedding of youth participation in our activities
- joint programming, in particular around youth policies, political inclusion and youth employment, youth participation in post-2015
- boosting our support to the implementation and monitoring of the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Youth
- encouraging and supporting greater UN coordination at regional and country levels
- forging a more structured and substantive dialogue around youth issues with a broad range of partners, including governments, foundations, the private sector, and young parliamentarians
- promoting the positive role youth play in peacebuilding
We have important milestones ahead of us. On 29 May, we will commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth, the international framework that urged governments to formulate and adopt integrated national youth policies. This is an excellent opportunity to remind all stakeholders of the importance of comprehensive and well-resourced youth policies, inclusive of all youth and linked to development priorities.
In August, we look forward to supporting the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security hosted by Jordan. Building on years of advocacy done, among others, by the inter-agency working group on youth in peacebuilding, the forum will step-up global attention to young people’s contribution to peace and chart a common agenda.
2015 is a once-in-a-generation type of year. A great year to break stereotypes, promote a more positive narrative on youth leadership, and create new and sustainable spaces for youth engagement. We can build on and scale up successful experiences in youth programming, forge innovative and inclusive partnerships, and invest sustainably in youth. Are you in?