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Youth Participation

As highlighted in the World Programme of Action for Youth, promoting youth participation in society and in decision-making is a key priority of the UN agenda on youth. It has been central to the work of the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, which has a specific sub-group on youth participation.

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Youth priorities for the Youth-SWAP

To seek input from youth and other relevant stakeholders for the development of the System-wide Action Plan on Youth, the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) conducted an online survey in all official UN languages in July-August 2012. Over 13,500 respondents from 186 countries participated in the survey. The responses received helped identify relevant measures and commitments for the Youth-SWAP and in many cases confirmed the UN system's prioritization of areas that needed to be addressed within the thematic areas of the Youth-SWAP.

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Levels of youth participation in the Youth-SWAP

Participation of youth as partners and right-holders in the implementation of outcomes contained in the Youth-SWAP is essential. There are three levels of youth participation that need to be addressed going forward:

  1. Informing and consulting youth about the Youth-SWAP;
  2. Encouraging their inclusive and meaningful participation in its implementation; and
  3. Engaging youth as partners and in the monitoring and reporting of the Youth-SWAP.
  1. Informing and consulting youth about the Youth-SWAP:
    • Young people should be asked for advice on how to systematically work with them and to partner with them in the implementation of commitments and measures contained in the Youth-SWAP;
    • Youth and youth-organizations will receive specifically developed youth-focused information on the Youth-SWAP.
  2. Informing and consulting youth about the Youth-SWAP:
    • Encouraging their inclusive and meaningful participation in its implementation:
    • Youth should participate in many of the activities carried out to implement the SWAP as appropriate.
    • UN inter-agency networks on youth at all levels should make specific efforts to engage youth and youth-led organizations;
  3. Engaging youth as partners and in the monitoring and reporting of the Youth-SWAP:
    • Engaging youth as advocates for the Youth-SWAP will ensure that they have ownership;
    • Youth participation in monitoring some of the indicators (e.g. their perceptions on improvements) should be facilitated where possible;
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Youth shadow reports or Youth participation score card

Youth should be given the opportunity to hold the UN system accountable for the implementation of commitments and measures contained in the Youth-SWAP. Suggesting to youth organizations to prepare a shadow report on the Youth-SWAP can help achieve this. At the joint-meeting of the IANYD with youth-led organizations in August/September 2013, a detailed plan will be developed that allows young people to submit a report or multiple reports on the implementation of commitments and measures contained in the Youth-SWAP.

A youth participation score card, prepared jointly by the Networks and youth organizations, to assess the quality of young people's participation in the Youth-SWAP may also be an option. If this option is pursued, IANYD will prepare a template, which regional and country offices can use as a tool to help them develop such score cards.