24.08.2011 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Youth, Dialogue and Mutual Understanding debated at UN Headquarters

© UN Photo/P. Filgueiras - UN Launch of International Youth Year on 12 August 2010

During the United Nations High-level Meeting on Youth, held in New-York City on 25-26 July 2011, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova stressed the importance of tolerance and respect towards others and condemned the attacks in Norway. She underlined that ensuring quality education is a key responsibility of governments, including reviewing curricula to introduce Human Rights approaches and access to technologies. In addition, she discussed inclusive education and its important role in addressing the marginalization of young people, a significant driver of poverty.

While ensuring quality education, Director-General Bokova stressed that efforts should be made to keep girls in schools, especially in secondary schools, and to eliminate prejudices towards Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), particularly for girls. UNESCO is currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity where it acknowledges the significant role of education for peace and promoting understanding.

UNESCO acknowledged challenges facing youth in relation to transition to work, marginalization and conflict. The 2010 Global Monitoring Report (GMR) on marginalization, as well as the 2011 GMR on armed conflict and education cited 28 million children unable to attend school due to conflict. Director-General Bokova spoke out on violence against girls especially during conflict, and that it should be addressed as only 2% of humanitarian aid in conflict goes to girls’ education. The 2012 GMR on TVET will address the challenge of making the transition from school to work, including organizing a major conference in China in 2012.

In her speech, the UNESCO Director-General underlined that the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum taking place in October 2011 acknowledges youth as agents of change and broad consultations with youth organizations are taking place. To address challenges facing youth, it is crucial to work in these kinds of partnerships as their issues are multifaceted and empower young people to be fully engaged in their societies.

The High-level Meeting on Youth was held at UN Headquarters in New York, USA, on 25-26 July 2011, by the United Nations General Assembly. Put under the banner of the International Year of Youth, this Meeting proposed to its participants to discuss on the main theme “Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”.

The thematic panel discussions addressed key issues affecting youth development:

  • Panel 1: Strengthening international cooperation regarding youth and enhancing dialogue, mutual understanding and active youth participation as indispensable elements of efforts towards achieving social integration, full employment and the eradication of poverty;
  • Panel 2: Challenges to youth development and opportunities for poverty eradication, employment and sustainable development.

Each thematic panel discussion was followed by plenary meeting of the General Assembly.

Accompanied by Pilar Álvarez-Laso, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences and Golda El-Khoury, Chief of the UNESCO Section for Youth, Sport and Physical Education, the UNESCO Director-General was invited by the President of the General Assembly to participate in panel discussion 2.

The event was opened by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly, and a youth speaker.

Read the Outcome Document of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding




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