From the start, the UNESCO Strategy on African Youth 2009-2013: Towards an Enabling Policy Environment for Youth Development and Civic Engagement in Africa was conceived as a joint initiative of UNESCO and African countries.

The Strategy was developed, and is implemented, in close cooperation with the African Union Commission, the Group of UNESCO African Member States, and through extensive consultation with key partners in the region. These include youth organizations, Regional Communities and Organizations, global development and civil society actors and the UN System.

The Strategy fully aligns with the African Youth Charter and shares many common elements with the African Union 10-year Plan of Action for Youth Development and Empowerment in Africa 2009-2018, to which it contributes.

Origins of the Strategy: a response to the call of African youth

In September 2007, the 1st UNESCO African Youth Forum took place in Burkina Faso. There the young delegates drew up the "Declaration of Ouagadougou" [PDF, 145 KB], in response to which UNESCO created a draft 5-year action plan to follow up on the Declaration’s recommendations. In recognition of the importance of youth development issues in Africa, the Group of UNESCO African Member States requested, in September 2008, the development of a comprehensive 5-year strategy on the basis of the action plan. The Group of African Member States established a dedicated working group to cooperate with the UNESCO Secretariat throughout both the elaboration and the implementation of the Strategy.

Drafting the Strategy: an inclusive process

From September 2008 until October 2009, UNESCO conducted open-ended consultations, both internally and externally, which shaped the final draft of the Strategy. Throughout this process, UNESCO consulted with:

  • African Members States (all 53 National Commissions);
  • 45 global and regional partners, including :
    • the African Union; 
    • the African Development Bank;
    • regional economic communities;
    • regional intergovernmental organizations;
    • the UN system;
    • international intergovernmental organizations;
  • National Youth Councils in Africa;
  • The Pan-African Youth Union;
  • Youth members of the online UNESCO African Youth Network;
  • UNESCO Programmes, Services, Centers, Institutes, and Field Offices in Africa.

Finalization and adoption

The final draft of the Strategy was presented at the 6th UNESCO Youth Forum (October 2009, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris). This allowed UNESCO to gather additional feedback from young people on the Strategy’s objectives and foreseen initiatives.

The Strategy was finalized and submitted to the 184th session of the UNESCO Executive Board (April 2010), which adopted a decision supporting the Strategy and calling for its implementation.

The Africa Working Group on the Implementation of the UNESCO Strategy on African Youth

The Working Group for the Implementation of the Strategy was established by UNESCO African Member States in July 2010. It reiterates their commitment to support the Strategy’s implementation.

The Group is “open ended” and composed of a Chair (Delegation of Kenya) and at least two countries from each African sub-region (11 members).

Currently, its members are:  Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya (Chair), Liberia, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

The role of the working group is to:

  • Monitor whether the implementation of the Strategy reflects the priorities of African Member States.
  • Lobby and advocate within the Group of UNESCO African Member States to ensure programmatic and operational support for the Strategy.
  • Keep all the African Member States informed on the progress of the implementation process.
  • Liaise between the Secretariat and UNESCO African Member States on related issues.
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