What we do at youthpolicy.org

At youthpolicy.org, we are building a global evidence-base for youth policy. We generate and consolidate knowledge and information on youth policies, including an annual report on the state of youth policy [2013 | 2014] and an overview of national youth policies. Read more about what we do, and what we offer, at http://www.youthpolicy.org/about/.


On this page you can find short introductions and links to further reading about:

  1. Youth policy at national level
  2. Youth policy at regional level
  3. Youth policy at international level

Youth policy at national level

The increasing value of and attention for a dedicated national youth policy is marked most discernibly by the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes, which was adopted at the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in 1998 and states:

“We commit ourselves to ensuring that national youth policy formulation, implementation and follow-up processes are, at appropriate level, accorded commitment from the highest political level, including the provision of adequate levels of resources.”

The 1998 World Youth Forum that preceeded the Ministerial Conference demanded

“the formulation in all states of youth policies, by the year 2005, which are cross-sectoral, comprehensive and formulated with long-term vision coupled with Action Plans.”

As our 2013 Report on the State of Youth Policy documents, this challenge has not been met:

2013 Report on the State of Youth Policy

As of January 2013, of 198 countries, 99 (50%) have a current youth policy. A further 56 (28%) are revising their existing or, in a few cases, developing their first national youth policy. A total of 43 states (22%) has no youth policy (yet).

Read the full report.


Youth policy at regional level

Details about youth policy at regional level can be found in our mapping of the regional youth scenes:


Youth policy at international level

The framework for youth policy at international level is largely set by the United Nations and its various agencies, subsidiary organs and affiliated organisations.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the only legally binding international instrument addressing the full range of human rights of children. There is no such treaty for young people (independent of the various understandings of which age-range the notion of young people should cover, which differs greatly across countries and oftentimes within countries across policy areas).

The major soft instruments of international youth policy are:

More details can be found in our mapping of the international youth sector.

Note that the youth programmes, actions and approaches of the UN are currently being streamlined through the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) and the System-Wide Action Plan on Youth (SWAP). Find out more in our podcast episode with the UN Youth Envoy.