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Social and Human Sciences 2014/10-27 ・ 4846

UNESCO and Youth - Strategy

Today, more than ever, young women and men are change-makers, building new realities for themselves and their communities. All over the world, youth are driving social change and innovation, claiming respect for their fundamental human rights and freedoms, and seeking new opportunities to learn and work together for a better future.

UNESCO recognizes this reality, and therefore prioritizes its work with and for youth across all its programmes. The Organization is guided in this by an Operational Strategy on Youth (2014-2021), which is the result of a long process of review and consultation, engaging both young people and Member States. This serves both to consolidate and innovate UNESCO’s action for youth.

What is the UNESCO Strategy on Youth?

The Strategy covers a period of eight years, from 2014 to 2021, and provides the framework for constructive partnerships to be developed with and between youth organizations and youth-related stakeholders. It is built on the premise that youth are key partners and actors for development and peace.

The Strategy puts forward three multidisciplinary and complementary axes of work which incorporate the full range of UNESCO’s expertise in education, culture, natural, social and human sciences, and communication and information:

1. Policy formulation and review with the participation of youth.
2. Capacity development for the transition to adulthood.
3. Civic engagement and democratic participation and social innovation.



The implementation of the UNESCO Operational Strategy on Youth is also guided by the recommendations produced at the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum (UNESCO Paris, France, 29-31 October 2013).


"UNESCO Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021"

Statistics on Youth

  • At the beginning of 2012, the world population surpassed 7 billion with people under the age of 30 accounting for more than half of this number (50.5%). According to the survey, 89.7% of people under 30 lived in emerging and developing economies, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.
    Source: The World’s Youngest Populations, Euromonitor International, 2012
  • There are at least 100 million street children globally, an estimated 18 million of these live in India, which has the largest numbers of street children of any country in the world.
    Source: Children in an Urban World. UNICEF, 2012, p. 67
  • The Asian region has the largest number of young people: 754 million. That number has nearly tripled since 1950. 
    Source: United Nations World Youth Report, Conclusions, 2011, Youth Demographics Worldwide, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2011
  • In 2012, India and China had the youngest population. According to the United Nations (UN), India's total population is forecast to overtake China's by 2025.
    Source: The World’s Youngest Populations, Euromonitor International, 2012
  • Countries in sub-Saharan Africa had the youngest proportion of population in the world with over 70% of the region's population aged below 30.
    Source: The World’s Youngest Populations, Euromonitor International, 2012
  • Concerning infant mortality rates, Afghanistan has the worst situation with 165 children deaths out of 1,000 births. Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Sierra Leone follow having 126, 124 and 123 rates simultaneously. 
    Source: Children in an Urban World. UNICEF, 2012, p.170
  • The group, called “NEET” (not in education, employment or training), often constitutes at least 10% of the youth population, and disproportionally includes youth with a low level of education in developed economies.
    Source: Global Employment Trends for Youth, International Labor Office, 2012, p. 9
  • Adolescent girls’ access to technology is limited by the societies, communities and families in which they live. In a patriarchal society, it is men who control technology, whether this is ‘new’, such as computers and mobile phones; or ‘old’, such as radios and televisions. For example, in Ghana, only 6.6 per cent of females use internet cafés compared with 16.5 per cent of male youth.
    Source: Children in an Urban World. UNICEF, 2012, p.112-114
  • Niger and Burundi has the worst girls’ gross primary school graduation rate (the number of children graduating from primary school in any one year divided by the number of children in the age group at which primary school completion should occur) which is  12.29% and 12.77% simultaneously.
    Source: Children in an Urban World. UNICEF, 2012, p.164
  • Nearly 75 million youth are unemployed around the world, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007. By 2016, the youth unemployment rate is projected to remain at the same high level.
    Source: Global Employment Trends for Youth, International Labor Office, 2012, p. 7
  • Youth unemployment rates are significantly higher than adult rates in all geographic regions, though with considerable variation. In 2010, the global youth unemployment rate remained at 12.6%, dramatically overshadowing the global adult unemployment rate of 4.8% 
    Source: World Youth Report, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2011, p.16 (International Labour Organization, 2011a and United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2011)
  • In all regions, by the age of 24, young women’s labour force participation trails young men’s.
    Source: World Bank, Girls and Young Women, 2010
  • Despite important gains in education among young women, their outcomes continue to lag behind those of young men. Globally, in 2010, 56.3 per cent of young males participated in the labour force, against 40.8 per cent of young females.
    Source: World Youth Report, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2011, p.21 (International Labour Organization, 2011b, p. 10)
  • There is a positive correlation between poor youth employment outcomes and inequality. Rising youth unemployment in recent years has increased inequality (measured by the Gini coefficient) by 4 percentage points in all advanced countries and by as much as 8 percentage points in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
    Source: Tackling the youth employment crisis:  A macroeconomic perspective, Makiko Matsumoto, Martina Hengge and Iyanatul Islam, International Labor Office, 2012, p. 1


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