The latest United Nations World Youth Report 2013, launched on 14 February 2014 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, is an in-depth study of youth migration from the perspective of young migrants themselves. It reflects the experiences, successes and challenges of young women and men involved in or affected by migration all over the world. UNESCO has been working on several fronts to advance the social inclusion of migrants, including young migrants, and the realization of their rights. In this capacity, UNESCO actively contributed to the production of the Report.
There are over 232 million migrants in the world today, and young people account for over 30% of this figure. Drawing on extensive participation by young migrants themselves, the Report provides a comprehensive guide to youth migration, drawing public attention to the complex and diverse experiences faced by young women and men as they leave their home communities and seek to start life again elsewhere.
The Report focuses on the complete cycle of migration, starting with pre-migratory planning, travelling to a destination country (often through transitory countries) and settling in a new society, as well as examining the identities of migrants and their reasons for leaving their home societies. It also assesses the information available to help young migrants, and the experiences of youth whose families have migrated without them, as well as encouraging the involvement of young people in national policy-making in order to improve the lives of young migrants and enhance their participation in their destination societies.
The Report highlights that whilst migration opens up opportunities for work and education (with the international student population in tertiary education expected to reach 8 million by 2020), it can also lead to great inequalities and human rights abuses. Problems such as homelessness on arrival, lack of access to healthcare and non-recognition of qualifications are all issues that migrants are confronted with, and particularly those in irregular situations.
In the face of this reality, UNESCO has been working on several fronts to advance the social inclusion of migrants and the realization of their rights. One key area of work is to promote the recognition of qualifications between Member States, thereby improving migrants’ access to further education and employment. The implementation of six Regional Conventions on the Recognition of Qualifications (in Africa, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Europe and the Mediterranean) constitutes a main initiative in this respect. UNESCO also works to address negative stereotypes regarding migrants through the development of intercultural educational programmes, and conducts research into vulnerability factors, such as climate change, with a view to supporting policies conducive to migrants’ social integration.
Furthermore, UNESCO works alongside partner institutions within the Global Migration Group (GMG), composed of 15 UN agencies and the International Organization for Migration, advocating for the integration of migration into the post-2015 UN development agenda, as well as for the enhanced participation of migrant youth in decisions affecting them.
- Follow the launch events online @UN4Youth #IAmAMigrant #UNYouthReport
- Go to the UN World Youth Report on www.unworldyouthreport.org