About youth policy and youth policies
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 https://www.youthpolicy.org/about/.
On this page you can find short introductions and links to further reading about:
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:
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).
Details about youth policy at regional level can be found in our mapping of the regional youth scenes:
- The Regional Youth Scene in Africa
- The Regional Youth Scene in Asia and the Pacific
- The Regional Youth Scene in Europe
- The Regional Youth Scene in the Middle East and North Africa
- The Regional Youth Scene in Latin America and the Caribbean
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:
- The World Programme of Action for Youth (pdf) and the regular reports of the Secretary General on its implementation (2012, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2001, 1999, 1997).
- The combined activities of UN agencies and programmes on youth issues, underpinned by regular resolutions of the General Assembly on policies and programmes involving youth (2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2000, 1979).
- Thematic resolutions and declarations on youth-relevant issues, such as the Declaration on the Promotion among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding between Peoples in 1965 or the Global Analysis and Evaluation of National Action Plans on Youth Employment in 2005.
- The International Youth Years in 1985 themed “Participation, Development, Peace” (proclamation and declaration) and 2010 themed “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding” (proclamation and declaration).
- Ministerial conferences, such as the 1998 World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, Portugal), the 2010 World Youth Conference (León, Mexico) and the upcoming 2014 World Youth Conference (Colombo, Sri Lanka).
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.