» Young women and men are full players in society of today and tomorrow
05.10.2016 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Young women and men are full players in society of today and tomorrow

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UNESCO wants young women and men to become active participants in fostering cohesion, peace and social inclusion in Europe and beyond. In Kosice, Slovakia, where UNESCO joins the European Youth Conference (3-6 October 2016), this is at the center of the debate. On this occasion, UNESCO calls on the international community to ensure that young women and men become and remain positive change-makers in their communities.

UNESCO considers that youth work needs to be professionalized, through partnerships with youth organizations which can foster youth skills and knowledge in civic engagement, leadership, strategic planning, fundraising, communication, governance and human resource management. By professionalizing youth work within their civil society organizations, they will be able to have more influence in their communities, reverberate positive engagement among other youth and drive sustainable social change.

At the local level, youth representation needs to be increased in communes and municipalities. UNESCO encourages the creation of councils that are gender-balanced and representative of the diverse youth groups in the community. With the appropriate skills and training, its young members will bring solutions to issues in their communities in cooperation with local and national decision-makers.

These two approaches stem from UNESCO’s experience in working with youth and youth organizations, for example through its flagship European Union-funded project, Networks of Mediterranean Youth (NET-MED Youth). NET-MED Youth builds the capacities of youth organizations in several countries in the eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean Sea. The project facilitates the encounter between youth, local decision-makers and experts so they can together develop effective and sustainable youth public policies, and media and employment actions.

Because the European Union Youth Conference allows for collective thinking, UNESCO is committed to disseminate, foster and adapt its lessons learnt, and to expand partnerships with the European Union and all Member States in order to advance the Youth Agenda in line with its Youth Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNESCO goes beyond giving youth a voice so they can be heard. It empowers them as full players in the development process, and equips them with tools and skills so they can drive social change, innovate and lay the foundation for a sustainable future.

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