The 8th UNESCO Youth Forum came to a close on Thursday 31 October, in Paris, with the adoption of 10 strategic recommendations for future youth action and the selection of 15 Action Projects to receive the Youth Forum label, which are to be put into action by young people from across the world.
The three days of the Youth Forum have been, in the words of the closing ceremony MC, “not only productive” but “exploding with energy and ideas”. Over 500 young participants have called on Member States, coming to UNESCO for the 37th General Conference from November 5, to create autonomous structures in each country to encourage and support youth engagement from now until 2021.
Whilst applauding UNESCO’s decision to designate youth as a priority group, participants have emphasized the necessity of encouraging greater youth involvement in the monitoring of youth programmes, and supporting their representation within the Committee of NGOs working with UNESCO, the Permanent Delegations attending the Organization’s General Conference, and the UNESCO National Commissions.
They further encouraged UNESCO to promote and develop programmes of non-formal citizenship education to enhance youth civic engagement and participation on a decision-making level, especially in the fields of intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention.
In addition, participants called on Member States to develop official mechanisms for the evaluation and validation of skills acquired by young people outside of traditional academic systems, whilst also considering improvements to formal education systems as a priority for the post-2015 agenda.
In response to the problem of youth unemployment, participants requested that Member States undertake a series of concrete measures, including the development of posts in the context of a green economy and the promotion of quality work experience opportunities. They equally invited Member States to consider the teaching of social entrepreneurship to youth as a high priority, to be developed alongside peer mentoring programmes.
They have additionally called on Member States to further support youth sustainable development programmes, both economically and socially, and to reinforce the funding of programmes linked to social entrepreneurship, scientific education for women and minority groups, science and technology, and innovation.
Finally, participants have invited Member States to integrate these action plans within national legislation, in order to guarantee the participation and inclusion of all young women and men, using ICT and social media where possible.
For the first time in its history, the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum, which precedes the General Conference biannually, will highlight 15 Action Projects submitted by youth organizations from the 5 regions of the world, selected by youth participants from a shortlist of 45. The final 15 projects are as follows:
- Collective Action for the promotion of rights for the youths living with disabilities (CAPRiY) – Cameroon
- Youth inclusion and Democratic Consolidation in Mauritius – Mauritius
- Skills for Youth Empowerment – Uganda
- Generations For Peace - Middle East and North Africa - Jordan
- Provision of safe environment for youth to get engaged in the Gaza Strip "Youth Club" – Palestine
- Social Entrepreneurship for Marginalized Youth – Bahrain
Asia and the Pacific:
- SHINE Project – Samoa
- Engaging Rural Youth in Cultural Rights Activity in Vanuatu – Vanuatu
- Youth Empowerment through Civic Engagement and Skills Development – Afghanistan
Europe and North America:
- Why Not? EPTO – Belgium
- Gift for Gift – France
- Training for Developing Youth Reporting Capacities (You.Re.Ca.) – Greece
Latin America and the Caribbean:
- Youth players with participatory and inclusive leadership – El Salvador
- Innovative educational approach for prevention and citizen participation – Mexico
- Creando Comienzos Creando Paz (Creating beginnings Creating Peace) – Guatemala
This edition of the Forum has been supported by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Kuwait, the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture of Finland, the United States of America Mission to UNESCO, the Government of Andorra, the International Organization of Francophone countries (OIF), the Funds-in-Trusts of Japan, Airbus, the Ecole de Condé Paris-Ségur, the International Student Identity Card Association (ISIC), the Osato Research Institute, the International Music Council and the “John Lennon Educational Tour Bus 2013”, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Goi Peace Foundation, SISSO, Junior Chamber International, Iya Traoré, Signmark, African Business Club, YouthMobile, Pass the Mic, European Youth Forum, Thumbed, Agence Publics, Make Sense, UNADR and partner investors.