UNESCO’s Youth Development and Violence Prevention Programme

In response to several Central American Member States’ requests for assistance, UNESCO has established a Youth Development and Violence Prevention Programme. This programme’s projects support the engagement and broad integration of young people into structures and activities for social development. UNESCO favours a preventive strategy in combating youth and gang-related violence.

Due to the magnitude of the youth violence phenomenon in Central America, the Heads of State of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua made a formal appeal for technical assistance to address the issue. This demand was made in April 2005 in the Declaration of Tegucigalpa:

    The Heads of State of the Central American Integration System (SICA) “request from the international cooperation community the technical and financial assistance necessary for the development of regional programs and projects that they may identify with emphasis on youth at risk as well as the training of justice personnel responsible for this area.”

By addressing the multiple causes of youth violence, the goal of these UNESCO projects is to focus on the prevention of youth violence, especially involvement in gangs.  This innovative approach takes into account the need for a safer and more positive youth environment in which concrete alternatives to violence are made available. The programme foresees the implementation of initiatives geared both towards youth at risk and towards adults dealing with youth.

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