Driving the change: after the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum
The participants of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum have made remarkable contributions to both the event and its outcome! However, the Forum is not a standalone event, but a continuing process of participation which has the potential to translate recommendations into concrete actions.
Beginning with discussion of the Forum’s results during the 36th UNESCO General Conference in 2011 and leading up to the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum in 2013, the follow-up to the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum is a 2-year participatory process where youth delegates, in collaboration with UNESCO and its partners, follow up on their recommendations and put these into practice in their countries and communities.
Impact on the next UNESCO Medium Term Strategy
Nasma Dasser and Miika Tomi, the two elected representatives of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum, presented the Forum’s final report to UNESCO Member States during the 36th Session of its General Conference (25 October to 11 November 2012). Many Member States commended the recommendations proposed by the youth delegates as well as the work carried out during the Youth Forum.
The quality of the Forum’s final report and the advocacy of the youth delegates resulted in discussions about introducing youth as a priority for UNESCO, and led to the adoption of two draft resolutions in this regard. For the first time in UNESCO’s history, UNESCO Member States requested that the Director-General consider the necessity and examine the feasibility and implications of including youth as a new global priority and determine the best modality for its implementation in the next UNESCO Medium Term Strategy.
UNESCO Member States have also endorsed and committed UNESCO to other important recommendations of the Youth Forum. For example, the UNESCO General Conference invited/asked the Director-General to develop different options for how to transform the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development into an institutionalized process continuing beyond 2014, and to submit these options to the Executive Board at its 190th session with a view to presenting them to the United Nations General Assembly.
See also: Related resolutions (General Conference, document 36C/76)
Assessing the Forum
UNESCO carried out a survey of all youth delegates and observers, and requested assessment reports from the youth facilitators, youth bloggers, young volunteers and members of the youth team that organized the Youth Forum (young staff, consultants, interns).
Working with youth delegates on the Forum’s follow-up
UNESCO has committed to working closely with youth delegates in following up on the recommendations of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum and in preparing for the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum in 2013.
Building on the feedback that youth delegates provided in their follow-up plans at the beginning of this year, UNESCO has launched a regular online process to involve youth delegates closely in both activities. The aim is to allow for regular contact with youth delegates, to listen to their views and ideas, and to hearing about their initiatives, in the run up to the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum.
UNESCO foresees the following phases in which the engagement, feedback and active participation of youth delegates is indispensable:
- Phase 1: Identification of priority recommendations to follow up on (per country, per region and globally), starting May 2012.
- Phase 2: Identification of key follow-up actions led by youth delegates per country, or at regional or at global level, and of ways in which UNESCO can support the follow-up.
- Phase 3: Regular reporting on progress and developments (every three months).
- Phase 4: Online discussions on the theme and agenda of the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum.
- Phase 5: Online mentoring of the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum delegates.
Phase 1: online questionnaire
On 7 May 2012, UNESCO launched Phase 1 with an online questionnaire for the delegates of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum. Its purpose is to identify those recommendations which they consider to be top priorities in their community/country, their region, and globally. The results of the questionnaire will be made public during the month of July 2012, leading into Phase 2.