The United Nations has long recognized that the PREFACE           imagination, ideals and energies of young people        ...
for national action and international support to        organizations, youth policy practitioners and youngimprove the sit...
■ PREAMBLE                                                 1             ■ STATEMENT OF PURPOSE                           ...
REAM Preamble            The decade since the observance of International            Youth Year: Participation, Developmen...
ATEME  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE                         The World Programme of Action for Youth provides                      ...
UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION            OF INTENT ON YOUTH:                                                                 ...
ations, have done much to ensure that these aspirations may              psychotropic substance addiction, smoking andbe a...
c. Every State should take all necessary measures to           welfare of society. States should therefore actively   elim...
II.   DEVELOPMENT SETTING In 1995, the world youth population—defined by the United                                       ...
Summit for Social Development,3 and the Platform for Actionadopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women.4The Programme ...
to send their children to schools because of local economic         mobilizing for that purpose all channels, agents andan...
heritage of their own and other societies and the              tunities and the ability to adjust to changes in labour  wo...
and youth leadership training, with priority given to       technology and communications, coupled with improved     accep...
refugee youth, displaced persons, street children and  indigenous youth. Youth organizations and young               C. HU...
them more attractive to young people. Experimental              Governments, consistent with their rural development  farm...
PROPOSALS FOR ACTION                                              diseases; narcotic and psychotropic drug abuse; misuse  ...
meet the health needs of youth. The United Nations           Summit for Social Development and the Fourth WorldPopulation ...
health issues of particular concern to young people,  including healthy lifestyles. Research into such issues        E. EN...
■ 2. Facilitating the international dissemination                ing and encourage awareness and action. Waste man-    of ...
As the number of psychotropic drugs increases steadily and        PROPOSALS FOR ACTIONtheir effects and appropriate prescr...
ties and institutions could be asked to develop model        independence, dignity and responsibility for a drug-  trainin...
the necessary controls and initiating treatment and            trative services which could discourage young people     re...
of leisure-time activities are factors that marginalize     PROPOSALS FOR ACTION     young people, which makes some of the...
planning, giving particular attention to areas with a         to eliminate discrimination against girls and young     high...
on the Rights of the Child11 and the Convention on         conditioned by enabling the economic, social and political     ...
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
World Programme of Action for Youth
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World Programme of Action for Youth


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This publication was prepared in response to numerous requests by youth non-governmental organizations, youth policy practitioners and young people for a ready reference to the WPAY, its 15 priority areas and their corresponding proposals for action. It also includes the means for implementation at the national, regional and international levels.

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World Programme of Action for Youth

  3. 3. The United Nations has long recognized that the PREFACE imagination, ideals and energies of young people are vital for the continuing development of theREF societies in which they live. The Member States of the United Nations acknowledged this in 1965 when they endorsed the Declaration on the Promotion among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding between Peoples. Two decades later, the United Nations General Assembly observed 1985 as the International Youth Year: Participation, Development and Peace. It drew international attention to the important role young people play in the world, and, in particular, their potential contribution to development. In 1995, on the tenth anniversary of International Youth Year, the United Nations strengthened its commitment to young people by directing the international community’s response to the challenges to youth into the next millennium. It did this by adopting an international strategy—the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond. The World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) provides a policy framework and practical guidelines i
  4. 4. for national action and international support to organizations, youth policy practitioners and youngimprove the situation of young people. It contains people for a ready reference to the WPAY, its 15proposals for action, aiming at fostering conditions priority areas and their corresponding proposals forand mechanisms to promote improved well-being action. It also includes the means for implementationand livelihoods among young people. The WPAY at the national, regional and international levels.focuses in particular on measures to strengthen The text of the World Programme of Action fornational capacities in the field of youth and to Youth is presented in this publication as it appearsincrease the quality and quantity of opportunities in United Nations resolutions 50/81 of 13 Marchavailable to young people for full, effective and 1996, in its annex containing the World Programmeconstructive participation in society. of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond,In its original form, the World Programme of and 62/126 of 5 February 2008, in its annexAction for Youth outlined 10 priority areas to be containing the Supplement to the WPAY (2007).addressed; however, at the ten-year review of the The publication does not provide the texts ofimplementation of the World Programme of Action preambular and operative paragraphs of thefor Youth, Member States agreed to the addition resolutions, which are not a part of the WPAY.of five additional issue areas. These were expanded The texts have been reformatted and paragraphupon in a Supplement, which was adopted in 2007. numbers have been omitted.Together these 15 issue areas and their related plans For more information on the World Programmeof action are what is understood to comprise the of Action for Youth and the Guide to theWorld Programme of Action for Youth, which guides Implementation of the World Programme of Actionpolicy and action in the area of youth development. for Youth, as well as information on the work ofThis publication was prepared in response to the United Nations on youth issues, please visit ournumerous requests by youth non-governmental website at: ii iii
  5. 5. ■ PREAMBLE 1 ■ STATEMENT OF PURPOSE 3ONTE CONTENTS ■ I. ■ II. UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION OF INTENT ON YOUTH: PROBLEMS AND POTENTIALS DEVELOPMENT SETTING ■ III. STRATEGIES AND POLICY SPECIFICS ■ IV. PRIORITY AREAS A. B. C. D. E. Education Employment Hunger and poverty Health Environment 5 10 11 13 13 18 21 23 29 F. Drug abuse 31 G. Juvenile delinquency 36 H. Leisure-time activities 38 I. Girls and young women 40 J. Full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and in decision-making 42 K. Globalization 44 L. Information and communications technology 46 M. HIV/AIDS 50 N. Armed conflict 55 O. Intergenerational issues 58 ■ V. MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION 62 A. National level 63 B. Regional cooperation 64 C. International cooperation 65 v
  6. 6. REAM Preamble The decade since the observance of International Youth Year: Participation, Development, Peace has been a period during which the world experienced fundamental political, economic and sociocultural changes. These changes will inevitably affect at least the first decade of the twenty-first century as well. Young people represent agents, beneficiaries and victims of major societal changes and are generally confronted by a paradox: to seek to be integrated into an existing order or to serve as a force to trans- form that order. Young people in all parts of the world, living in countries at different stages of de- velopment and in different socio-economic settings, aspire to full participation in the life of society. 10 1
  7. 7. ATEME STATEMENT OF PURPOSE The World Programme of Action for Youth provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for na- tional action and international support to improve the situation of young people. It contains proposals for action to the year 2000 and beyond, aiming at achieving the objectives of the International Youth Year and at fostering conditions and mechanisms to promote improved well-being and livelihood among young people. The Programme of Action focuses in particular on measures to strengthen national capacities in the field of youth and to increase the quality and quan- tity of opportunities available to young people for full, effective and constructive participation in society. 2 3
  8. 8. UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION OF INTENT ON YOUTH: I. PROBLEMS AND POTENTIALS The States Members of the United Nations have agreed to work towards achievement of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, inter alia, the promo- tion of higher standards of living, full employment and con- ditions of economic and social progress and development. Young people in all parts of the world, living in countries at different stages of development and in different socio- economic situations, aspire to full participation in the life of society, as provided in the Charter, including: a. Attainment of an educational level commensurate with their aspirations; b. Access to employment opportunities equal to their abilities; c. Food and nutrition adequate for full participation in the life of society; d. A physical and social environment that promotes good health, offers protection from disease and ad- diction and is free from all types of violence; e. Human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language, religion or any other forms of discrimination; f. Participation in decision-making processes; g. Places and facilities for cultural, recreational and sports activities to improve the living standards of young people in both rural and urban areas. While the peoples of the United Nations, through their Gov- ernments, international organizations and voluntary associ-4 5
  9. 9. ations, have done much to ensure that these aspirations may psychotropic substance addiction, smoking andbe achieved, including efforts to implement the guidelines alcoholism;for further planning and suitable follow-up in the field of h. Inadequate opportunities for vocational educationyouth endorsed by the General Assembly in 1985,1 it is ap- and training, especially for persons with disabilities;parent that the changing world social, economic and politi-cal situation has created the following conditions that have i. Changes in the role of the family as a vehicle formade this goal more difficult to achieve in many countries: shared responsibility and socialization of youth; a. Claims on the physical and financial resources of j. Lack of opportunity for young people to participate States, which have reduced the resources available in the life of society and contribute to its develop- for youth programmes and activities, particularly in ment and well-being; heavily indebted countries; k. Prevalence of debilitating disease, hunger and mal- b. Inequities in social, economic and political condi- nutrition that engulfs the life of many young people; tions, including racism and xenophobia, which l. Increasing difficulty for young people to receive lead to increasing hunger, deterioration in living family life education as a basis for forming healthy conditions and poverty among youth and to their families that foster sharing of responsibilities. marginalization as refugees, displaced persons and migrants; These phenomena, among others, contribute to the in- c. Increasing difficulty for young people returning creased marginalization of young people from the larger so- from armed conflict and confrontation in integrat- ciety, which is dependent on youth for its continual renewal. ing into the community and gaining access to edu- We, the peoples of the United Nations, believe that the cation and employment; following principles, aimed at ensuring the well-being of d. Continuing discrimination against young women young women and men and their full and active participa- and insufficient access for young women to equal tion in the society in which they live, are fundamental to opportunities in employment and education; the implementation of the World Programme of Action for e. High levels of youth unemployment, including long- Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond: term unemployment; a. Every State should provide its young people with f. Continuing deterioration of the global environ- opportunities for obtaining education, for acquir- ment resulting from unsustainable patterns of con- ing skills and for participating fully in all aspects of sumption and production, particularly in industrial- society, with a view to, inter alia, acquiring produc- ized countries, which is a matter of grave concern, tive employment and leading self-sufficient lives; aggravating poverty and imbalances; b. Every State should guarantee to all young people g. Increasing incidence of diseases, such as malaria, the the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamen- human immunodeficiency virus and the acquired tal freedoms in accordance with the Charter of the immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and other United Nations and other international instruments threats to health, such as substance abuse and related to human rights; 6 7
  10. 10. c. Every State should take all necessary measures to welfare of society. States should therefore actively eliminate all forms of discrimination against young encourage young people and youth organizations women and girls and remove all obstacles to gender to participate actively in programmes, including equality and the advancement and empowerment educational programmes, and actions designed to of women and should ensure full and equal access protect, promote and enhance the environment; to education and employment for girls and young i. Every State should take measures to develop the women; possibilities of education and employment of youngd. Every State should foster mutual respect, tolerance people with disabilities; and understanding among young people with dif- j. Every State should take measures to improve the ferent racial, cultural and religious backgrounds; situation of young people living in particularly diffi-e. Every State should endeavour to ensure that its cult conditions, including by protecting their rights; policies relating to young people are informed by k. Every State should promote the goal of full employ- accurate data on their situation and needs, and that ment as a basic priority of its economic and social the public has access to such data to enable it to policies, giving special attention to youth employ- participate in a meaningful fashion in the decision- ment. They should also take measures to eliminate making process; the economic exploitation of children;f. Every State is encouraged to promote education l. Every State should provide young people with the and action aimed at fostering among youth a spirit health services necessary to ensure their physical of peace, cooperation and mutual respect and and mental well-being, including measures to com- understanding between nations; bat diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, and tog. Every State should meet the special needs of young protect them from harmful drugs and the effects of people in the areas of responsible family-planning addiction to drugs, tobacco and alcohol; practice, family life, sexual and reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection and m. Every State should place people at the centre of AIDS prevention, consistent with the Programme of development and should direct their economies to Action adopted by the International Conference on meet human needs more effectively and to ensure Population and Development in September 1994,2 that young people are active participants and ben- the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Develop- eficiaries in the process of development. ment and the Programme of Action adopted by the World Summit for Social Development in March 1995,3 and the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995;4h. Environmental protection, promotion and enhance- ment are among the issues considered by young people to be of prime importance to the future 8 9
  11. 11. II. DEVELOPMENT SETTING In 1995, the world youth population—defined by the United STRATEGIES AND POLICY SPECIFICS In 1965, in resolution 2037 (XX), the General Assembly III. Nations as the age cohort 15-24—is estimated to be 1.03 bil- endorsed the Declaration on the Promotion among Youth lion, or 18 per cent of the total world population. The majority of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding of the world youth population (84 per cent in 1995) lives in between Peoples. From 1965 to 1975, both the General developing countries. This figure is projected to increase to Assembly and the Economic and Social Council emphasized 89 per cent by 2025. The difficult circumstances that people three basic themes in the field of youth: participation, experience in many developing countries are often even more development and peace. The need for an international difficult for young people because of limited opportunities policy on youth was emphasized as well. In 1979, the for education and training, viable employment and health General Assembly, by resolution 34/151, designated 1985 and social services, and because of a growing incidence of as International Youth Year: Participation, Development, substance abuse and juvenile delinquency. Many developing Peace. In 1985, by resolution 40/14, the Assembly endorsed countries are also experiencing unprecedented rates of the guidelines for further planning and suitable follow- rural-urban migration by young people. up in the field of youth.1 The guidelines are significant for Apart from the statistical definition of the term “youth” their focus on young people as a broad category comprising mentioned above, the meaning of the term “youth” varies various subgroups, rather than a single demographic entity. in different societies around the world. Definitions of youth They provide proposals for specific measures to address the have changed continuously in response to fluctuating needs of subgroups such as young people with disabilities, political, economic and sociocultural circumstances. rural and urban youth and young women. Young people in industrialized countries comprise a relatively The themes identified by the General Assembly for smaller proportion of the total population because of International Youth Year: Participation, Development, generally lower birth rates and longer life expectancy. They Peace reflect a predominant concern of the international comprise a social group that faces particular problems and community with distributive justice, popular participation uncertainties regarding its future, problems that relate in and quality of life. These were reflected in the guidelines, part to limited opportunities for appropriate employment. and they represent overall themes of the World Programme Young people in all countries are both a major human of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond as well. resource for development and key agents for social change, economic development and technological innovation. Their The Programme of Action also builds upon other, recent imagination, ideals, considerable energies and vision are international instruments, including the Rio Declaration essential for the continuing development of the societies in on Environment and Development, adopted by the United which they live. Thus, there is special need for new impetus Nations Conference on Environment and Development,5 the to be given to the design and implementation of youth Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by policies and programmes at all levels. The ways in which the the World Conference on Human Rights,6 the Programme challenges and potentials of young people are addressed by of Action of the International Conference on Population policy will influence current social and economic conditions and Development,2 the Copenhagen Declaration on Social and the well-being and livelihood of future generations. Development and the Programme of Action of the World 10 11
  12. 12. Summit for Social Development,3 and the Platform for Actionadopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women.4The Programme of Action is drawn from these international PRIORITY AREAS Each of the ten7 priority areas identified by the international IV.instruments generally and specifically related to youth community is presented in terms of principal issues, specificpolicies and programmes. The Programme of Action is objectives and the actions proposed to be taken by varioussignificant because it provides a cross-sectoral standard actors to achieve those objectives. Objectives and actionsrelating to both policy-making and programme design and reflect the three themes of International Youth Year:delivery. It will serve as a model for integrated actions, at Participation, Development, Peace; they are interlinked andall levels, to address more effectively problems experienced mutually young people in various conditions and to enhance their The ten7 fields of action identified by the internationalparticipation in society. community are education, employment, hunger and poverty,The Programme of Action is divided into three phases: the health, environment, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency,first phase focused on analysis and on drafting the Pro- leisure-time activities, girls and young women and the fullgramme of Action and on its adoption by the General and effective participation of youth in the life of societyAssembly at its fiftieth session, in 1995; the second phase and in decision-making. The Programme of Action doesis concerned with worldwide implementation of the Pro- not exclude the possibility of new priorities which may begramme of Action to the year 2000; the third phase, covering identified in the future.the period 2001 to 2010, will focus on further implementa- Implementation of the Programme of Action requires thetion and evaluation of progress made and obstacles en- full enjoyment by young people of all human rights andcountered; it will suggest appropriate adjustments to fundamental freedoms, and also requires that Governmentslong-term objectives and specific measures to improve the take effective action against violations of these rights andsituation of young people in the societies in which they live. freedoms and promote non-discrimination, tolerance, respect for diversity, with full respect for various religious and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions of their young people, equality of opportunity, solidarity, security and participation of all young women and men. A. EDUCATION Although progress towards universal basic education, beginning with literacy, has been impressive in recent times, the number of illiterate people will continue to grow and many developing countries are likely to fall short of universal primary education by the year 2000. Three main concerns regarding current systems of education may be expressed. The first is the inability of many parents in developing countries 12 13
  13. 13. to send their children to schools because of local economic mobilizing for that purpose all channels, agents andand social conditions. The second concerns the paucity of forms of education and training, in line with theeducational opportunities for girls and young women, concept of lifelong education. Special emphasis shouldmigrants, refugees, displaced persons, street children, also be given to the reform of education content andindigenous youth minorities, young people in rural areas and curricula, especially curricula that reinforce traditionalyoung people with disabilities. The third concerns the quality female roles which deny women opportunities for fullof education, its relevance to employment and its usefulness and equal partnership in society, at all levels, focusingin assisting young people in the transition to full adulthood, on scientific literacy, moral values and learning of skills,active citizenship and productive and gainful employment. adapted to the changing environment and to life in multi-ethnic and multicultural societies. The importanceTo encourage the development of educational and train- of the development of information skills, that is, skillsing systems more in line with the current and future needs for researching, accessing and using information,of young people and their societies, it would be helpful to and informatics, should be emphasized along with theshare experience and to investigate alternative arrange- importance of distance education. Non-governmentalments, such as informal arrangements for the provision of youth organizations and educational organizationsbasic literacy, job skills training and lifelong education. should develop youth-to-youth programmes for basicOpportunities for young people to pursue advanced or uni- education, skills training and literacy. Considerationversity education, engage in research or be trained for self- should be given to developing programmes enablingemployment should be expanded in developing countries. retired and elderly people to teach literacy to youngGiven the economic problems faced by such countries and people. Particular attention should be given to specificthe inadequacy of international assistance in this area, it is groups of youth in distressed circumstances, includingdifficult to provide appropriate training for all young peo- indigenous, migrant and refugee youth, displacedple, even though they are a country’s chief economic asset. persons, street children and poor youth in urban and rural areas, as well as to special problems, includingGovernments, intergovernmental and non-governmental literacy problems, for blind youth and youth withorganizations are called upon to assist young people from other disabilities.developing countries to obtain education and training at alllevels in developed as well as in developing countries, as well ■ 2. Cultural heritage and contemporary patternsas to participate in mutual academic exchanges among de- of societyveloping countries. Governments should establish or strengthen programmes to educate young people in the cultural heritage of their own and other societies and thePROPOSALS FOR ACTION world. Governments should institute, in cooperation with non-governmental youth organizations, travel ■ 1. Improving the level of basic education, skill and exchange programmes and youth camps to help training and literacy among youth youth understand cultural diversity at both the national Priority should be given to achieving the goal of ensuring and international levels, develop intercultural learning basic education for all (beginning with literacy), skills and participate in the preservation of the cultural 14 15
  14. 14. heritage of their own and other societies and the tunities and the ability to adjust to changes in labour world around them. The United Nations Educational, demand. Scientific and Cultural Organization, in cooperation with interested Governments and non-governmental ■ 5. Promoting human rights education organizations, is requested to expand international Governments should ensure that the United Nations programmes, such as youth camps, by which young Decade for Human Rights Education, which began in people, particularly those from developing countries, 1995, is adequately observed in schools and educa- with different cultures, may help restore major tional institutions. In order to make youth aware of international cultural sites and engage in other cultural their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, activities. as well their societal responsibilities, and in order to develop harmonious inter-community relations, mu-■ 3. Promoting mutual respect and understanding tual tolerance and respect, equality between women and the ideals of peace, solidarity and and men, and tolerance for diversity, Governments tolerance among youth should develop human rights education strategies tar- Programmes aimed at learning peacemaking and geted at youth, taking particular account of the human conflict resolution should be encouraged and designed rights of women. by Governments and educational institutions for ■ 6. Training for enterprise programmes introduction to schools at all levels. Children and youth should be informed of cultural differences in Governments, in cooperation with regional and inter- their own societies and given opportunities to learn national organizations, should formulate model train- about different cultures as well as tolerance and ing programmes for youth in individual and coop- mutual respect for cultural and religious diversity. erative enterprises. They are encouraged to establish Governments and educational institutions should self-contained enterprise centres where young people may plan and test their enterprise venture concepts. formulate and implement educational programmes which promote and strengthen respect for all human ■ 7. Infrastructure for training youth workers and rights and fundamental freedoms and enhance the youth leaders values of peace, solidarity, tolerance, responsibility and respect for the diversity and rights of others. Governments should assess the adequacy of facilities and programmes to train youth workers and youth■ 4. Vocational and professional training leaders, including the adequacy of curricula and staff resources. On the basis of such assessments, Govern- Governments and educational institutions, in co- ments should plan and implement relevant training operation with regional and international organi- programmes. Non-governmental youth organizations zations, could establish or enhance vocational and should be encouraged and assisted in formulating and technical training relevant to current and prospective disseminating model training courses for use by mem- employment conditions. Youth must be given the ber organizations. opportunity to access vocational and professional training and apprenticeship programmes that help Interested organizations should investigate possi- them acquire entry-level jobs with growth oppor- bilities of strengthening international youth worker 16 17
  15. 15. and youth leadership training, with priority given to technology and communications, coupled with improved accepting participants from developing countries. In productivity, have imposed new challenges as well as new cooperation with concerned organizations that pro- opportunities for employment. Young people are among the vide training opportunities for youth, including intern- most severely affected by these developments. If effective ships and volunteer programmes, establishment of an solutions are not found, the cost to society will be much inventory of such programmes could also be explored. higher in the long run. Unemployment creates a wide range of social ills and young people are particularly susceptible to its damaging effects: the lack of skills, low self-esteem, marginalization, impoverishment and the wasting of an B. EMPLOYMENT enormous human resource.Unemployment and underemployment among youth is aproblem everywhere. It is, indeed, part of the larger strug-gle to create employment opportunities for all citizens. The PROPOSALS FOR ACTIONproblem has worsened in recent years because of the global ■ 1. Opportunities for self-employmentrecession which has affected developing countries the mostseriously. The disturbing fact is that economic growth is not Governments and organizations should create oralways accompanied by growth in employment. The diffi- promote grant schemes to provide seed money toculty of finding suitable employment is compounded by a encourage and support enterprise and employmenthost of other problems confronting young people, includ- programmes for young people. Businesses anding illiteracy and insufficient training, and is worsened by enterprises could be encouraged to provide counterpartperiods of world economic slow-down and by overall chang- financial and technical support for such economic trends. In some countries, the influx of young Cooperative schemes involving young people inpeople into the employment market has brought with it production and marketing of goods and services couldacute problems. According to estimates of the International be considered. The formation of youth developmentLabour Organization, more than one hundred million new banks could be considered. The Committee for thejobs would have to be created within the next twenty years Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives isin order to provide suitable employment for the growing encouraged to develop models for cooperatives run by youth in developed and developing countries. Suchnumber of young people in the economically active popu- models could include guidelines for managementlations of developing countries. The situation of girls and training and training in entrepreneurial techniquesyoung women, as well as of young people with disabilities, and marketing.refugee youth, displaced persons, street children, indige-nous youth, migrant youth and minorities, warrants urgent ■ 2. Employment opportunities for specific groupsattention, bearing in mind the prohibition of forced labour of young peopleand child labour. Within funds designated to promote youth employ-The crisis of youth unemployment deprives young people ment, Governments should, as appropriate, designateof the opportunity to secure independent housing or resources for programmes supporting the effortsthe accommodations necessary for the establishment of of young women, young people with disabilities,families and participation in the life of society. Advances in youth returning from military service, migrant youth, 18 19
  16. 16. refugee youth, displaced persons, street children and indigenous youth. Youth organizations and young C. HUNGER AND POVERTY people themselves should be directly involved in the planning and implementation of these programmes. Over one billion people in the world today live in unaccept- able conditions of poverty, mostly in developing countries,■ 3. Voluntary community services involving youth particularly in rural areas of low-income countries in Asia Where they do not already exist, Governments should and the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and consider the establishment of voluntary service pro- the least developed countries. Poverty has various manifes- grammes for youth. Such programmes could provide tations: hunger and malnutrition; ill health; limited or lack alternatives to military service, or might constitute a of access to education and other basic services; increased required element in educational curricula, depending morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inad- on national policies and priorities. Youth camps, equate housing; unsafe environments; and social discrimina- community service projects, environmental protec- tion and exclusion. It is also characterized by a lack of par- tion and intergenerational cooperation programmes ticipation in decision-making and in civil and sociocultural should be included among the opportunities offered. life. Poverty is inseparably linked to lack of access to or loss Youth organizations should be directly involved in of control over resources, including land, skills, knowledge, designing, planning, implementing and evaluating capital and social connections. Without those resources, peo- such voluntary service programmes. In addition, inter- ple have limited access to institutions, markets, employment national cooperation programmes organized between and public services. Young people are particularly affected youth organizations in developed and developing by this situation. Therefore, specific measures are needed to countries should be included to promote intercultural address the juvenilization and feminization of poverty. understanding and development training. Hunger and malnutrition remain among the most serious and intractable threats to humanity, often preventing youth■ 4. Needs created by technological changes and children from taking part in society. Hunger is the result Governments, in particular those of developed coun- of many factors: mismanagement of food production and tries, should encourage the creation of employment distribution; poor accessibility; maldistribution of financial opportunities for young people in fields that are resources; unwise exploitation of natural resources; un- rapidly evolving as a result of technological innova- sustainable patterns of consumption; environmental pollu- tion. A subset of the employment data compiled by tion; natural and human-made disasters; conflicts between Governments should track the employment of youth traditional and contemporary production systems; irrational into those fields marked by newly emerging techno- population growth; and armed conflicts. logies. Measures should be taken to provide ongoing training for youth in this area. PROPOSALS FOR ACTION Special attention should be paid to developing and disseminating approaches that promote flexibility in ■ 1. Making farming more rewarding and life in training systems and collaboration between training agricultural areas more attractive institutions and employers, especially for young people Governments should enhance educational and cultural in high-technology industries. services and other incentives in rural areas to make 20 21
  17. 17. them more attractive to young people. Experimental Governments, consistent with their rural development farming programmes directed towards young people schemes and with the assistance of international organ- should be initiated and extension services expanded to izations, as appropriate, are encouraged to work with maintain improvements in agricultural production and volunteer youth organizations on projects which en- marketing. hance and maintain the rural and urban environments. Local and national Governments, in cooperation with ■ 4. Cooperation between urban and rural youth youth organizations, should organize cultural events in food production and distribution that enhance exchanges between urban and rural youth. Youth organizations should be encouraged and Non-governmental organizations should organize assisted in organizing conventions and meetings in direct-marketing groups, including production and rural areas, with special efforts to enlist the coopera- distribution cooperatives, to improve current market- tion of rural populations, including rural youth. ing systems and to ensure that young farmers have access to them. The aim of such groups should be to■ 2. Skill training for income generation by reduce food shortages and losses from defective young people systems of food storage and transport to markets. Governments, in cooperation with youth organizations, should develop training programmes for youth which improve methods of agricultural production and D. HEALTH marketing. Training should be based on rural economic Young people in some parts of the world suffer from poor needs and the need to train young people in rural areas health as a result of societal conditions, including such factors in techniques of food production and the achievement as customary attitudes and harmful traditional practices, and, of food security. Attention should be given in such in some cases, as a result of their own actions. Poor health programmes to young women, youth retention in is often caused by an unhealthy environment, by missing rural areas, youth returning to rural areas from the support systems in everyday life for health-promoting patterns cities, young people with disabilities, refugee and of behaviour, by lack of information and by inadequate or migrant youth, displaced persons and street children, inappropriate health services. Problems include the lack of a indigenous youth, youth returning from military service safe and sanitary living environment, malnutrition, the risk of and youth living in areas of resolved conflicts. infectious, parasitic and water-borne diseases, the growing■ 3. Land grants for young people consumption of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, unwarranted risk-taking and destructive activity, resulting in unintentional Governments should provide grants of land to youth injuries. and youth organizations, supported by financial and technical assistance and training. The Food and The reproductive health needs of adolescents have been Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and largely ignored. In many countries, there is a lack of infor- the International Labour Organization are invited to mation and services available to adolescents to help them document and disseminate information about national understand their sexuality, including sexual and reproduc- experience with land-grant and settlement schemes for tive health, and to protect them from unwanted pregnan- use by Governments. cies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. 22 23
  18. 18. PROPOSALS FOR ACTION diseases; narcotic and psychotropic drug abuse; misuse of alcohol and tobacco; unwarranted risk-taking and ■ 1. Provision of basic health services destructive activity, resulting in unintentional injuries; malnutrition; and poor spacing of births. All young people should have access to basic health services in the interest of all and of society as a whole. ■ 2. Development of health education It is the indispensable responsibility of each Govern- ment to mobilize the necessary awareness, resources Governments should include, in the curricula of educa- and channels. These measures should be supported by tional institutions at the primary and secondary levels, a favourable international economic environment and programmes focusing on primary health knowledge by cooperation. and practices. Particular emphasis should be placed Efforts should be expedited to achieve the goals of on the understanding of basic hygiene requirements national health-for-all strategies, based on equality and the need to develop and sustain a healthy environ- and social justice, in line with the Declaration of Alma ment. These programmes need to be developed in full Ata on primary health care8 adopted on 12 September awareness of the needs and priorities of young people 1978 by the International Conference on Primary and with their involvement. Health Care, by developing or updating country Cooperation among Governments and educational action plans or programmes to ensure universal, non- and health institutions should be encouraged in order discriminatory access to basic health services, including to promote personal responsibility for a healthy life- sanitation and drinking water, to protect health, and style and provide the knowledge and skills necessary to promote nutrition education and preventive health to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including teaching the programmes. legal, social and health consequences of behaviour Support should be provided for stronger, better that poses health risks. coordinated global actions against major diseases which take a heavy toll of human lives, such as malaria, ■ 3. Promotion of health services, including sexual tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid fever and HIV/AIDS; and reproductive health and development of in this context, support should be continued for the relevant education programmes in those fields Joint and Co-sponsored United Nations Programme Governments, with the involvement of youth and on the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired other relevant organizations, should ensure the immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). implementation of the commitments made in the Programme of Action of the International Conference Poor health is often caused by lack of information and on Population and Development,2 as established in lack of health services for youth, mostly in developing the report of that Conference, in the Copenhagen countries. The resulting problems are, among others, Declaration on Social Development and the Programme sexually transmitted diseases, including infection with of Action of the World Summit on Social Development,3 HIV; early pregnancies; lack of hygiene and sanitation, and in the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for leading to infection, infestation and diarrhoea; genetic Action for the Fourth World Conference on Women,4 and congenital diseases; psychological and mental as well as in the relevant human rights instruments, to 24 25
  19. 19. meet the health needs of youth. The United Nations Summit for Social Development and the Fourth WorldPopulation Fund and other interested United Nations Conference on Women. The United Nations Populationorganizations should continue to take effective steps Fund and other interested United Nations organiza-on these issues. The reproductive health needs of tions are to be encouraged to continue assigning highadolescents as a group have been largely ignored to priority to promoting adolescent reproductive by existing reproductive health services. Theresponse of societies to the reproductive health needs ■ 4. HIV infection and AIDS among young peopleof adolescents should be based on information that Governments should develop accessible, available andhelps them attain a level of maturity required to make affordable primary health care services of high qual-responsible decisions. In particular, information and ity, including sexual and reproductive health care, asservices should be made available to adolescents to well as education programmes, including those relatedhelp them understand their sexuality and protect them to sexually transmitted disease, including HIV/AIDS,from unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted for youth. Continued international cooperation anddiseases and the subsequent risk of infertility. This collective global efforts are necessary for the contain-should be combined with the education of young men ment of HIV/ respect women’s self-determination and to share ■ 5. Promotion of good sanitation andresponsibility with women in matters of sexuality and hygiene practicesreproduction. This effort is uniquely important forthe health of young women and their children, for Governments, in cooperation with youth and volun-women’s self-determination and, in many countries, teer organizations, should promote the establishmentfor efforts to slow the momentum of population of youth health associations to promote good sanita-growth. Motherhood at a very young age entails a risk tion and hygiene programmes.of maternal death that is much greater than average, ■ 6. Prevention of disease and illness among youthand the children of young mothers have higher resulting from poor health practiceslevels of morbidity and mortality. Early childbearingcontinues to be an impediment to improvements in Governments, in cooperation with youth organiza-the educational, economic and social status of women tions, should promote healthier lifestyles and, in thisin all parts of the world. Overall for young women, context, should investigate the possibility of adoptingearly marriage and early motherhood can severely policies for discouraging drug, tobacco and alcoholcurtail educational and employment opportunities abuse, including possibly banning the advertisementand are likely to have a long-term adverse impact on of tobacco and alcohol. They should also undertakethe quality of life of young women and their children. programmes to inform young people about the adverse effects of drug and alcohol abuse and tobaccoGovernments should develop comprehensive sexual addiction.and reproductive healthcare services and provideyoung people with access to those services including, Programmes should be instituted, with the appro-inter alia, education and services in family planning priate assistance of the United Nations bodies andconsistent with the results of the International Confer- organizations concerned, to train medical, para-ence on Population and Development, the World medical, educational and youth work personnel in 26 27
  20. 20. health issues of particular concern to young people, including healthy lifestyles. Research into such issues E. ENVIRONMENT should be promoted, particularly research into the The deterioration of the natural environment is one of the effects and treatment of drug abuse and addiction. principal concerns of young people worldwide as it has Youth organizations should be enlisted in these efforts. direct implications for their well-being both now and in the■ 7. Elimination of sexual abuse of young people future. The natural environment must be maintained and preserved for both present and future generations. The As recommended by the Vienna Declaration and causes of environmental degradation must be addressed. Programme of Action,6 the International Conference The environmentally friendly use of natural resources and on Population and Development,2 the World Summit environmentally sustainable economic growth will improve for Social Development3 and the Fourth World Confer- human life. Sustainable development has become a key ence on Women,4 and bearing in mind that young element in the programmes of youth organizations through- women are specially vulnerable, Governments should out the world. While every segment of society is responsible cooperate at the international level and take effective for maintaining the environmental integrity of the commu- steps, including specific preventive measures to protect nity, young people have a special interest in maintaining children, adolescents and youth from neglect, aban- a healthy environment because they will be the ones to donment and all types of exploitation and abuse, such inherit it. as abduction, rape and incest, pornography, trafficking and acts of paedophilia, as well as from commercial sexual exploitation resulting from pornography and PROPOSALS FOR ACTION prostitution.9 Governments should enact and enforce legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation wher- ■ 1. Integration of environmental education and training into education and training ever it exists and give vigorous support to efforts among programmes non-governmental and community organizations and religious institutions to eliminate such practices.10 Emphasis should be given in school curricula to envi- ronmental education. Training programmes should■ 8. Combating malnutrition among young people be provided to inform teachers of the environmental aspects of their subject matter and to enable them to Governments should promote post-primary-school and educate youth concerning environmentally friendly out-of-school health projects by individuals and youth habits. organizations, emphasizing information on healthy eating practices. School lunch programmes, provision The participation of youth groups in gathering environ- of food supplements and similar services should be mental data and in understanding ecological systems available whenever possible to help ensure a proper and actual environmental action should be encour- diet for young people. aged as a means of improving both their knowledge of the environment and their personal engagement in caring for the environment. 28 29
  21. 21. ■ 2. Facilitating the international dissemination ing and encourage awareness and action. Waste man- of information on environmental issues to, agement programmes may represent potential income- and the use of environmentally sound generating activities which provide opportunities for technologies by, youth employment. The United Nations Environment Programme, in As recognized by the United Nations Conference on cooperation with Governments and non-governmental Environment and Development, the involvement of youth organizations, is invited to intensify production youth in environment and development decision- of information materials illustrating the global making is critical to the implementation of policies dimension, its origins and the interrelated effects of of sustainable development. Young people should be environmental degradation, describing the outcome involved in designing and implementing appropriate of initiatives undertaken in developing and developed environmental policies. countries as well as countries with economies in transition. The United Nations Environment Programme ■ 4. Enhancing the role of the media as a tool for is requested to continue its efforts to disseminate widespread dissemination of environmental information to and exchange information with youth organizations. Governments should encourage and issues to youth assist youth organizations to initiate and develop Governments should, to the extent consistent with youth-to-youth contacts through town-twinning and freedom of expression, encourage the media and similar programmes in order to share the experience advertising agencies to develop programmes to gained in different countries. ensure widespread dissemination of information on Relevant United Nations organizations and institu- environmental issues in order to continue to raise tions and Governments of technologically advanced awareness thereof among youth. countries are encouraged to help spread the use of Governments should establish procedures allowing environmentally sound technologies in developing for consultation and possible participation of youth countries and in countries with economies in transition of both genders in decision-making processes with and to train youth in making use of such technologies regard to the environment, at the local, national and in protecting and conserving the environment. regional levels.■ 3. Strengthening participation of youth in the protection, preservation and improvement of the environment F. DRUG ABUSE Governments and youth organizations should initiate The vulnerability of young people to drug abuse has in programmes to promote participation in tree planting, recent years become a major concern. The consequences forestry, combating desert creep, waste reduction, of widespread drug abuse and trafficking, particularly for recycling and other sound environmental practices. young men and women, are all too apparent. Violence, The participation of young people and their organi- particularly street violence, often results from drug abuse zations in such programmes can provide good train- and illicit drug networks. 30 31
  22. 22. As the number of psychotropic drugs increases steadily and PROPOSALS FOR ACTIONtheir effects and appropriate prescriptive uses are oftennot fully known, some patients may not be adequately ■ 1. Participation of youth organizations andtreated and others may become over-medicated. Abuse of youth in demand reduction programmesprescription drugs and self-medication with tranquillizers, for young peoplesleeping pills and stimulants can also create serious problems, To be effective, demand reduction programmes shouldparticularly in countries and regions where distribution be targeted at all young people, particularly those atcontrols are weak and habit-forming drugs are purchased risk, and the content of the programmes should re-abroad or diverted from licit channels of distribution. In this spond directly to the interests and concerns of thosecontext, the vulnerability of young people raises a particular young people. Preventive education programmesproblem and specific measures are therefore needed. showing the dangers of drug abuse are particularly important. Increasing opportunities for gainful em-The international community places particular emphasis on ployment and activities which provide recreationreducing the demand for and supply of illegal drugs and and opportunities to develop a variety of skills arepreventing abuse. Supply reduction includes combating important in helping young people to resist illicit drug trafficking. Drug abuse prevention Youth organizations can play a key role in designinginitiatives range from discouraging people from taking and implementing education programmes and indi-drugs, thus preventing involuntary addiction, to helping vidual counselling to encourage the integration ofthose who are abusing drugs to stop doing so. Treatment youth into the community, to develop healthy lifestylesprogrammes need to recognize that drug abuse is a chronic and to raise awareness of the damaging impact ofrelapsing condition. It is essential for programmes to be drugs. The programmes could include training of youthadapted to the social and cultural context and for there to leaders in communication and counselling effective cooperation between various approaches to Government entities, in cooperation with relevanttreatment. To this end, national initiatives and measures to agencies of the United Nations system, and non-combat illicit drug trafficking should be fully supported and governmental organizations, particularly youth organi-reinforced at the regional and international levels. zations, should cooperate in carrying out demandDrug control strategies at the national and international reduction programmes for illicit drugs, tobacco andlevels consistently emphasize initiatives aimed at reducing alcohol.drug abuse among young people. This is reflected in the ■ 2. Training medical and paramedical students inresolutions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and in the rational use of pharmaceuticals containingthe demand reduction programmes of the United Nations narcotic drugs or psychotropic substancesInternational Drug Control Programme. The World Health Organization, associations of the medical, paramedical and pharmaceutical professions and pharmaceutical corporations and medical facul- 32 33
  23. 23. ties and institutions could be asked to develop model independence, dignity and responsibility for a drug- training courses and disseminate information material free, crime-free productive life. Of particular interest for young medical and paramedical students on the is the development of treatment techniques involving proper handling of drugs and the early identification the family setting and peer groups. Young people can and diagnosis of substance abuse. make significant contributions by participating in peer group therapy to facilitate the acceptance of young■ 3. Treatment and rehabilitation of young people drug-dependent persons and abusers upon their re- who are drug abusers or drug-dependent and entry into society. Direct participation in rehabilitation young alcoholics and tobacco users therapy entails close cooperation between youth Research has been undertaken into the possibility of groups and other community and health services. identifying medication to block cravings for specific The World Health Organization and other worldwide drugs without creating secondary dependency, but medical and mental health organizations could be much remains to be done in this area. The need for requested to set guidelines for continuing research and medical and social research in the prevention and treat- for carrying out comparable programmes in different ment of substance abuse as well as rehabilitation has settings, whose effectiveness could be evaluated over a become more urgent, particularly with the worldwide given period of time. increase in abuse and addiction among young people. ■ 4. Care for young drug abusers and In such research, emphasis should be given to the fact that intravenous substance abuse raises the risk of con- drug-dependent suspects and offenders tracting communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS in the criminal justice and prison system and hepatitis, arising from the sharing of needles and Authorities should consider strategies to prevent other injection equipment. The fruits of all such re- exposure to drug abuse and dependence among young search should be shared globally. people suspected or convicted of criminal offences. Such strategies could include alternative measures, such as Research on issues such as the medical treatment and daily reporting to police stations, regular visits to parole the rehabilitation of young drug abusers, including officers or the fulfilment of a specified number of hours the combination of different types of treatment, the of community service. problem of recidivism and the administrative aspects of drug treatment, and the inclusion of students in Prison authorities should cooperate closely with law the relevant faculties in such research, should be en- enforcement agencies to keep drugs out of the prison couraged. system. Prison personnel should be discouraged from tolerating the presence of drugs in penal institutions. In cooperation with the institutions of civil society and the private sector, drug abuse prevention should Young prisoners who are already drug-dependent be promoted, as should preventive education for should be targeted as priority candidates for treatment children and youth and rehabilitation and education and rehabilitation services and should be segregated programmes for former drug and alcohol addicts, as appropriate. Guidelines and standard minimum especially children and youth, in order to enable rules should be prepared to assist national authorities them to obtain productive employment and achieve in law enforcement and prison systems in maintaining 34 35
  24. 24. the necessary controls and initiating treatment and trative services which could discourage young people rehabilitation services. Action along these lines from migrating to urban areas. Youth from poor urban constitutes a long-term advantage to society, as the settings should have access to specific educational, cycle of dependence, release, repeated offences and employment and leisure programmes, particularly repeated incarcerations constitutes a heavy burden during long school holidays. Young people who drop on the criminal justice system, quite apart from the out of school or come from broken families should wasted lives and personal tragedies which result from benefit from specific social programmes that help drug dependence and criminal behaviour. them build self-esteem and confidence conducive to responsible adulthood. ■ 2. Prevention of violence G. JUVENILE DELINqUENCY Governments and other relevant organizations, particu-Juvenile crime and delinquency are serious problems larly youth organizations, should consider organizingall over the world. Their intensity and gravity depend information campaigns and educational and trainingmostly on the social, economic and cultural conditions in programmes in order to sensitize youth to the person-each country. There is evidence, however, of an apparent ally and socially detrimental effects of violence in theworldwide increase in juvenile criminality combined with family, community and society, to teach them how toeconomic recession, especially in marginal sectors of urban communicate without violence and to promote trainingcentres. In many cases, youth offenders are “street children” so that they can protect themselves and others againstwho have been exposed to violence in their immediate violence. Governments should also develop programmessocial environment, either as observers or as victims. Their to promote tolerance and better understanding amongbasic education, when they have it, is poor; their primary youth, with a view to eradicating contemporary formssocialization from the family is too often inadequate; and of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and relatedtheir socio-economic environment is shaped by poverty and intolerance and thereby prevent violence.destitution. Rather than relying solely on the criminal justicesystem, approaches to the prevention of violence and crime To prevent violence and crime, the developmentshould thus include measures to support equality and justice, of social organization, particularly through youthto combat poverty and to reduce hopelessness among organizations and community involvement, shouldyoung people. be fostered by a supportive social policy and within a legal framework. Government assistance should focus on facilitating the ability of community and youthPROPOSALS FOR ACTION organizations to express and evaluate their needs concerning the prevention of violence and crime, to ■ 1. Priority to preventive measures formulate and implement actions for themselves and Governments should give priority to issues and prob- to cooperate with each other. lems of juvenile delinquency and youth criminality, ■ 3. Rehabilitation services and programmes with particular attention to preventive policies and programmes. Rural areas should be provided with Destitution, poor living conditions, inadequate edu- adequate socio-economic opportunities and adminis- cation, malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment and lack 36 37
  25. 25. of leisure-time activities are factors that marginalize PROPOSALS FOR ACTION young people, which makes some of them vulnerable to exploitation as well as to involvement in criminal ■ 1. Leisure-time activities as an integral part of and other deviant behaviour. If preventive measures youth policies and programmes address the very causes of criminality, rehabilitation Governments, in planning, designing and implement- programmes and services should be made available to ing youth policies and programmes, with the active those who already have a criminal history. In general, involvement of youth organizations, should recognize youth delinquency begins with petty offences such the importance of leisure-time activities. The impor- as robbery or violent behaviour, which can be easily tance given to such activities should be reflected in traced by and corrected through institutions and appropriate funding. community and family environments. Indeed, law en- forcement should be a part of rehabilitation measures. Governments are invited to establish public libraries, Finally, the human rights of young people who are cultural centres and other cultural facilities in rural and imprisoned should be protected and principles of urban areas, with the aid of international organizations, penal majority according to penal laws should be given and to provide assistance to young people active in the great attention. fields of drama, the fine arts, music and other forms of cultural expression. Governments are invited to encourage the participa- H. LEISURE-TIME ACTIVITIES tion of young people in tourism, international cultural events, sports and all other activities of special interestThe importance of leisure-time activities in the psycho- to youth.logical, cognitive and physical development of young ■ 2. Leisure-time activities as elements ofpeople is recognized in all societies. Leisure-time activities educational programmesinclude games, sports, cultural events, entertainment andcommunity service. Appropriate leisure programmes for Governments, by providing adequate funding to edu-youth are elements of any measure aimed at fighting social cational institutions for the establishment of leisure-ills such as drug abuse, juvenile delinquency and other time activities, may accord priority to such activities.deviant behaviour. While leisure programmes can contribute In addition, leisure-time activities could be integratedgreatly to the development of the physical, intellectual into the regular school curriculum.and emotional potential of young people, they should be ■ 3. Leisure-time activities in urban planning anddesigned with due care and concern so that they are not rural developmentused as a means for excluding youth from participatingin other aspects of social life or for indoctrinating them. National Governments as well as local authorities andLeisure-time activity programmes should be made freely community development agencies should incorporateavailable to young people. leisure-time activity programmes and facilities in urban 38 39
  26. 26. planning, giving particular attention to areas with a to eliminate discrimination against girls and young high population density. Equally, rural development women and to ensure their full enjoyment of human programmes should pay due attention to the leisure rights and fundamental freedoms through comprehen- needs of rural youth. sive policies, plans of action and programmes on the basis of equality. Initiatives should be taken to prepare ■ 4. Leisure-time activities and the media girls to participate actively, effectively and equally with The media should be encouraged to promote youth un- boys at all levels of social, economic, political and cul- derstanding and awareness of all aspects of social inte- tural leadership. gration, including tolerance and non-violent behaviour. ■ 2. Education Universal and equal access to and completion of pri- mary education for girls and young women as well as I. GIRLS AND YOUNG wOMEN equal access to secondary and higher education shouldOne of the most important tasks of youth policy is be ensured. A framework should be provided for theto improve the situation of girls and young women. development of educational materials and practicesGovernments therefore should implement their obligations that are gender balanced and promote an educationalunder international human rights instruments as well as setting that eliminates all barriers impeding the school-implementing the Platform for Action of the Fourth World ing of girls and young women, including married and/Conference on Women, the Programme of Action of the or pregnant girls and young women.International Conference on Population and Development,the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the ■ 3. HealthWorld Conference on Human Rights and other programmes Discrimination against girls and young women shouldof relevant United Nations conferences. Girls are often be eliminated in health and nutrition. The removaltreated as inferior and are socialized to put themselves last, of discriminatory laws and practices against girls andthus undermining their self-esteem. Discrimination and young women in food allocation and nutrition shouldneglect in childhood can initiate a lifelong downward spiral be promoted, and their access to health services shouldof deprivation and exclusion from the social mainstream. be ensured in accordance with the Programme of Ac-Negative cultural attitudes and practices, as well as gender- tion of the International Conference on Populationbiased educational processes including curricula, educational and Development and the Platform for Action of thematerials and practices, teachers’ attitudes and classroom Fourth World Conference on Women.interaction, reinforce existing gender inequalities. ■ 4. Employment Girls and young women should be protected fromPROPOSALS FOR ACTION economic and related forms of exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous, to ■ 1. Discrimination interfere with their education or to be harmful to their Discrimination and neglect in childhood can initiate a health or their physical, mental, spiritual, moral or lifelong exclusion from society. Action should be taken social development, in conformity with the Convention 40 41
  27. 27. on the Rights of the Child11 and the Convention on conditioned by enabling the economic, social and political the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against participation of youth, as a matter of critical importance. Women.12 Equal access for young women to all Youth organizations are important forums for developing employment opportunities should be promoted and skills necessary for effective participation in society, pro- their participation in the traditionally male-dominated moting tolerance and increased cooperation and exchanges sectors should be encouraged. between youth organizations. ■ 5. Violence Governments should cooperate at the international level and enact and enforce legislation protecting PROPOSALS FOR ACTION girls and young women from all forms of violence, The following actions are proposed: including female infanticide and prenatal sex selection, genital mutilation, incest, sexual abuse, sexual a. Improving access to information in order to enable exploitation, child prostitution and child pornography. young people to make better use of their opportuni- Age-appropriate, safe and confidential programmes ties to participate in decision-making; and support services to assist girls and young women b. Developing and/or strengthening opportunities for who are subjected to violence should be developed young people to learn their rights and responsibilities, in cooperation with relevant non-governmental promoting their social, political, developmental and organizations, particularly youth organizations, as environmental participation, removing obstacles that appropriate. affect their full contribution to society and respecting, inter alia, freedom of association; c. Encouraging and promoting youth associations J. FULL AND EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION through financial, educational and technical support OF YOUTH IN THE LIFE OF SOCIETY and promotion of their activities; AND IN DECISION-MAkING d. Taking into account the contribution of youth in de- signing, implementing and evaluating national policiesThe capacity for progress of our societies is based, among and plans affecting their concerns;other elements, on their capacity to incorporate the con- e. Encouraging increased national, regional and in-tribution and responsibility of youth in the building ternational cooperation and exchange between youthand designing of the future. In addition to their intellec- organizations;tual contribution and their ability to mobilize support,they bring unique perspectives that need to be taken f. Inviting Governments to strengthen the in-into account. volvement of young people in international forums, inter alia, by considering the inclusion of youthAny efforts and proposed actions in the other priority representatives in their national delegations to theareas considered in this programme are, in a certain way, General Assembly. 42 43