UNESCO African Youth Forum
Burkina Faso, 24-28 September 2007
The Regional Youth Forum followed a similar format to the UNESCO General Conference Youth Forum. It lasted for four days, and included two plenary sessions, at the beginning and end, and in between workshops. All of these were youth led, with adult experts acting as facilitators to support the discussion. Observers from youth NGOs and organisations, regional networks and UNESCO Secretariat were also present to share their opinions and experiences.
The overall theme of the regional forums was ”Young People and the Dialogue among Civilizations, Cultures and Peoples: Ideas for action in education, the sciences, culture and communication”. Under this theme, the Youth Forum Report has recommended two sub-themes as specific foci of the regional youth forums: ”Education for sustainable development” and ”Intercultural and interfaith dialogue to ensure peace”.
- To allow youth delegates to elaborate specific themes and related recommendations for action in favour of dialogue by and for young people.
- To consolidate and encourage networks and partnerships between young people, youth organizations, UNESCO and other partners concerned with youth and dialogue in the region.
- To define concrete youth-led follow up projects and initiatives in the region, which shall be supported with seed funding through a Regional Youth Project Fund.
List of countries invited to participate (53 countries):
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The online consultation process leading to the definition of the Forum’s sub-themes / agenda
- The starting point: the recommendation of the 4th UNESCO Youth Forum to provide "a specific and permanent UNESCO Youth Forum website and discussion forum, where young people can actively participate in debates and channel their input".
- The initiative: UNESCO launched an online consultation process aiming at involving young people in the preparation of the Forum’s agenda. Young people, aged between 18-30, nominated by National Commissions, national youth councils, UNITWIN Chairs, youth NGOs, organizations and networks in the African region participated in this 6-week process which allowed for the elaboration of the Forum’s sub-themes.
- The means: a UNESCO listserv, moderated by UNESCO. The young people subscribed by UNESCO were the only ones able to post messages and access the online discussions, archives and background documents. The listserv served as a true e-space for youth dialogue and exchange of ideas.
- The procedure: Questions and topics devised in consultation with experts in intercultural and interfaith dialogue served to kick off the online discussion. A summary of each week’s online discussions was sent to the National Commissions and national youth councils or similar structures of the participating countries, UNESCO sectors and field offices, youth NGOs, organisations and networks. Following the six-week period, the listserv remained online as a means of facilitating exchanges and disseminating both background information and participants’ profiles prior to the Forum.
The nomination of the Forum’s delegates
Participants were nominated by both the National Commissions for UNESCO and the national youth councils of the participating countries (or, in the absence of a national youth council, the most appropriate national youth structure).
- Two youth delegates from each of the participating countries
- Representatives of youth NGOs and youth networks to attend as observers, at their own cost
- The president or a rapporteur of the 4th UNESCO Youth Forum
- Representatives of UNESCO National Commissions, Field Offices and national authorities, e.g. Ministries of Youth (at their own cost)
- Eight to ten experts on the theme of the Forum, the African region and youth , who will act as facilitators and presenters (costs covered by organizers).