Youth push for a greater role in shaping the Future we want for all
Approximately 800 youth leaders, representatives of 153 UN member-states, civil society groups, and United Nations (UN) agencies have participated at the Global Youth Forum meeting aimed at promoting youth-led development agenda, in Bali, from December 4 to December 6, 2012.
UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said at the Opening Ceremony that the "younger generation could only offer solutions to global challenges if they had access to proper health services, quality education and empowerment".
Also in attendance was the Director and Representative of UNESCO Hubert Gijzen. He said that "the starting point is to consider youth as the solution and not as the problem. It is vital that they are fully engaged in social change towards sustainable peace and societies".
The conference was held in the context of the review and follow up to the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development beyond 2014 in order to produce recommended actions for the outcome report of the review and for the Post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda, as well as to generate a new consensus on putting youth rights at the heart of development.
The Forum has produced a set of recommendations on the themes of staying healthy; comprehensive education; families, youth-rights and well-being, including sexuality; transition to decent work; and leadership and meaningful participation.
On the topic of comprehensive education, participants promoted universal access to free education, inclusive education, quality education and comprehensive sexuality education. The forum has also concluded with a set of recommendations on youth participation and capacity building: "Governments and international organizations are urged to undertake political reform to include young people in policy-making and implementation, regardless of socio-economic and cultural background, in line with international human rights standards, and should remove legal, policy and regulatory barriers that hinder the meaningful participation and empowerment of young people to exercise and claim their rights".
In the lead up to the Global Youth Forum, UNESCO teamed up with UNPFA and supported national consultation in Indonesia, including youth discussion about Post-2015 Development Agenda. Reproductive health, misuse of public spaces, lack of character-building education and environmental changes are the main issues of concern for the Indonesian youth as it was stated by various Indonesian youth representatives during the national meeting held in Jakarta on 26 November 2012.
UNESCO support to the Global Youth Forum is part of its new youth focused programme on Building Skills for Youth Civic Engagement in Indonesia. The overall goal of this project is to contribute to youth empowerment and engagement of young women and men in their communities through support to opportunities for youth leadership and youth led-initiatives. The project has also strong linkages with Post-2015 Development Agenda, ensuring that youth can express the "future they want" and making their voices heard.