UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Youth – Selected Online Resources


Youth 2030: The United Nations Youth Strategy
Youth2030, the first-ever UN system-wide strategy on youth, guides joint UN action for and with young people globally.
The official launch of Youth Strategy took place on Monday, 24th September 2018 at a High-Level Event at the United Nations in New York. The Strategy was presented by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres. and the Secretary-General tasked his Envoy on Youth, in conjunction with the UN system and youth themselves, to lead the development of a UN Youth Strategy. Today, the Youth Strategy implementation engages with 33 UN Entities and 130 UN Country Teams.

Secretary-General appoints Felipe Paullier of Uruguay Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs (SG/A/2237, 27 October 2023)

Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
The work of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth is guided by the World Programme of Action for Youth which outlines four priority areas; Participation, Advocacy, Partnerships and Harmonisation. The Envoy on Youth advocates for addressing the development needs and rights of young people, as well as to bring the work of the United Nations with and for youth closer to them.

Young Leaders for Sustainable Development Goals
Every two years, 17 young change-makers are recognized for their leadership and contribution to a more sustainable world.
From food to fashion to finance, the Young Leaders for the SDGs come from many different backgrounds, represent every region in the world and help young people worldwide in support of the Goals.

The Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change
The Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change provides him with practical and outcome-focused advice, diverse youth perspectives and concrete recommendations, with a clear focus on accelerating the implementation of his climate action agenda.
Convened under the auspices of the United Nations first-ever system-wide youth strategy, Youth2030, and the Our Common Agenda, the Youth Advisory Group serves as a mechanism for the Secretary-General to hear directly from young people, as the organization works to accelerate global climate action, and drive forward all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Common Agenda: Policy Brief 3: Meaningful Youth Engagement in Policymaking and Decision-making Processes (April 2023)
This brief presents a series of bold proposals from the Secretary-General with a view towards ensuring more meaningful, diverse and effective youth participation across intergovernmental decision-making processes at all levels. The recommendations draw directly from inputs we have heard from Member States, UN partners, and most importantly from young people themselves — in recent years, more than 12 million young people across more than 194 countries have voiced their views on the future of multilateralism via a diverse range of consultative processes (including the My World Surveys, the UN75 Global Listening Exercise and Plenary, the Next Generation Fellows, and inputs to the Human Rights Council, the ECOSOC Youth Forum and the Security Council, among other channels), sharing their expectations for strengthened youth engagement in intergovernmental policymaking and decision-making processes.

United Nations – Get Involved
https://www.un.org/en/get-involved (scroll down to “Students”)
Young people are the future of the world. Since at the UN we work to make the world a better place now and in the future, we want to help students understand our work and offer many resources to do so.

International Youth Day – 12 August
On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Youth
The Focal Point on Youth, UN Programme on Youth, falls within the Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). Within the United Nations system, the Focal Point on Youth aims to build an awareness of the global situation of young people, as well as promote their rights and aspirations. The Focal Point also works towards greater participation of young people in decision-making as a means of achieving peace and development.

World Programme of Action for Youth
The United Nations youth agenda is guided by the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY). The WPAY, adopted by the General Assembly in 1995, provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people around the world. The WPAY covers fifteen youth priority areas and contains proposals for action in each of these areas.

UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development
The IANYD is the United Nations’ inter-agency mechanism for matters related to youth. It works to advance and increase the effectiveness of the UN’s work in youth development and policy by strengthening collaboration, creating coherence and enabling exchange among all relevant UN entities. while respecting and harnessing the benefits of their individual strengths and unique approaches and mandates.
In doing so, the Network works to achieve several priorities, including, high-level political advocacy, UN system staff capacity building, and serving a knowledge and think tank function for emerging and frontier issues, across the pillars and areas of work the UN.

United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP)
In response to Member State requests that the UN system intensify efforts towards a more coherent, comprehensive and integrated approach to youth development within the context of the World Programme of Action for Youth, a System-wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP) – a framework to guide youth programming for the UN system – was developed by the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD), informed by input from youth and other relevant stakeholders. In April 2013, it was endorsed by the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB).

UN Youth Delegate Programme
Participation in decision-making is one of the key priority areas of the United Nations agenda on youth. One form of youth participation at the United Nations is through the inclusion of youth delegates in a country’s official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and various functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council. It is the responsibility of Member States to establish a youth delegate programme at the national level, and to decide who will represent the young people of their country at the United Nations.
The roles of a youth delegate varies from country to country, but normally includes providing input to their delegation on issues related to youth and participation in their delegation’s work, such as through attending meetings and informal negotiations.
Youth delegates can participate in several intergovernmental meetings at the United Nations. Most official youth delegates participate in the General Assembly, but some also attend functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council.

Model United Nations
Model UN is a popular activity for those interested in learning more about how the UN operates. Hundreds of thousands of students worldwide take part every year at all educational levels. Many of today’s leaders in law, government, business and the arts – including at the UN itself – participated in Model UN as student.
The United Nations Model UN Programme aims to build and maintain strong links between the UN and Model UN participants across the globe. It does that through guides and workshops, which teach students how to make their simulations more accurate; by visiting Model UN conferences and sharing firsthand knowledge of what the actual UN is like; and through encouraging Model UN clubs to take real action to support UN values and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ECOSOC Youth Forum 2023
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum took place from 25 to 27 April 2023 in a hybrid format.
The Forum provides a platform for young people to engage in a dialogue with Member States and other actors to voice their views, concerns and galvanize actions on how to transform the world into a fairer, greener and more sustainable place guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Youth Forum will address the theme of ECOSOC and the 2023 UN High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) on “Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at levels”. It will also review progress in the areas of clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), and partnerships for the goals (SDG17).
The Youth Forum will also gather young people to share their recommendations and innovative ideas in preparation of the SDG Summit, to be held under the auspices of the General Assembly, in September 2023. It will also aim to complement other intergovernmental meetings, such as the upcoming UN Water Conference (March 2023), the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework (May 2023) and the second part of the LDC-5 Conference (March 2023).


Further Information

UN Digital Engament Hub
Competitions, Video Games and Mobile Apps represent a fun and entertaining way for the United Nations family to communicate on its goals and objective, informing and engaging citizens on issues of critical importance to the organisation.

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) – Youth
Ensuring the involvement of young people in development processes is crucial for progress towards a more egalitarian society. The youth population currently numbers around 160 million in the region and will continue to represents a very substantial proportion of the population in some countries in the coming decades. The youth population needs a higher level of education, relevant training and better preparation for lifelong learning. In addition to persistent structural divides, ECLAC has noted inequalities in capacity-building and the sphere of work, which affect the young particularly and will need to be addressed if progress is to be made along the path of sustainability with equality.

Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) – Youth Empowerment
ESCAP acts as the regional focal point for the World Programme of Action for Youth, a blueprint for national action and international collaboration to foster conditions and mechanisms to promote improved well-being and livelihoods among young people. In the context of the 2030 Agenda, ESCAP promotes the role of youth in actively contributing to the development process and making it both more inclusive and sustainable.
ESCAP works to enhance knowledge, capacity and regional cooperation to improve the situation young people face, through assisting Governments to develop comprehensive national youth policies and engaging young people in their programmes.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – Rural Youth
Globally there are 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, 16 percent of the total population and nearly 90 percent of them live in developing countries.
Young people are key agents of change, with enormous innovation potential. Working for and with young people and investing in their empowerment is key for prosperous societies and overall inclusive rural transformation.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – Youth: Shaping the rural economies of tomorrow
Our world is home to 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and the youth population is growing fastest in the poorest nations. Governments around the world face the challenge of providing young people with jobs and opportunities that safeguard their futures.
In rural areas, home to a total of 600 million youth, the challenges are particularly complex. Constraints on access to land, natural resources, finance, technology, knowledge, information and education make it difficult for young people to contribute to the rural economy.
Few aspire to remain in rural areas and make a living out of agriculture. Too often, their only option is to migrate, either to urban areas or overseas.

International Labour Organization (ILO) – Youth Employment
Even in the best of times, young people faced a tough situation in the labour market. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic they were around three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. The crisis now threatens to exacerbate existing inequalities within and between countries.

International Monetary Fund – The IMF and Youth

International Maritime Organization – IMO Kids’ Zone
Find out about who we are and what we are doing to protect the marine environment…

International Organisation for Migration – IOM Youth Ambassador Initiative
The IOM Youth Ambassador Initiative aims to strengthen youth voices and provide a platform for youth as agents of change in the field of migration. By amplifying youth voices, promoting safe, orderly and regular migration, and fostering youth-inclusive policies, the initiative seeks to create a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.
The Migration Youth Ambassadors will work closely with IOM for a period of one year to advocate for safe, orderly, dignified and inclusive migration, including on climate mobility, human trafficking, xenophobia and health and to empower young people in their communities to participate in dialogues on migration and related issues.

International Trade Centre (ITC) – Youth and trade
ITC’s Youth and Trade Programme promotes youth entrepreneurship in developing countries. We work with young people to develop their business and employability skills, which in turn improves their access to quality jobs with decent work conditions and increases their income.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
Youth and Children

Youth and children with access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) are coming of age as digital natives, the early adopters of ICTs and better positioned than their parents to harness the power of digital technologies in new and imaginative ways.
ICTs can enhance education, reduce youth unemployment and promote social and economic development. Youth can only leverage the transformative power of ICTs, however, when they have access to ICTs and are equipped with a range of digital skills to use them to their benefit.
ITU’s youth activities are focused on promoting digital skills development and ICT-enabled employment opportunities for youth, including encouraging more young women and girls to prepare for and enter ICT careers.​​​​ ​ITU is also a member of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, leading the Digital Skills for Jobs Campaign.

Generation Connect
Generation Connect aims to engage global youth and encourage their participation as equal partners alongside the leaders of today’s digital change, empowering young people with the skills and opportunities to advance their vision of a connected future.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights –
OHCHR and youth
Youth is a period of transition from dependence to independence and autonomy. The transition occurs at different times in relation to different rights, and depends on the socioeconomic context, among other things.
Young people face discrimination and obstacles to the enjoyment of their rights by virtue of their age, limiting their potential. The human rights of youth therefore refer to the full enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms by young people. Promoting these rights means addressing the specific challenges and barriers faced.

UN WOMEN – Youth and gender equality
There are 1.8 billion young people aged 10-24 in the world—the largest youth population ever. Of these, 600 million are adolescent girls and young women. Across the world, young women continue to face gender-based discrimination, marginalization, and violence, including unequal access to education and opportunities for leadership and participation. The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must deliver equal gains for youth. The force and inspiration of our youngest leaders are critical drivers for accelerating progress on sustainable development and gender equality.
UN Women’s new youth and gender equality strategy seeks to empower young women and young men as partners in achieving gender equality, and aims to ‘engender’ the youth movement and ‘enyouth’ the women’s movement. Building on UN Women’s Strategic Plan, the Youth and Gender Equality Strategy and its ‘LEAPs’ Framework includes three thematic pillars —Leadership of young women in all spheres; Economic empowerment and skills development of young women; and Action on ending violence against young women and girls—and three cross-cutting approaches—strengthening Participation, voice and partnerships with young women and young women-led organizations and networks, with young men as partners of gender equality, and with inter-generational partners.

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) – Young People
The UNAIDS Youth Programme works with youth as beneficiaries, partners and leaders of the HIV response. It is founded on three cornerstone principles, with a robust, cross-cutting focus on advocacy: policy, participation and partnership.
The Youth Programme was launched in 2012 and was based on the CrowdOutAIDS recommendations developed in collaboration with more than 5000 young people. It advocates for evidence-informed policy through increased strategic information and fosters a decentralized, organic youth-led movement in the AIDS response. The Youth Programme strengthens young people’s leadership skills and their ability to operate in a framework that advances evidence-informed HIV responses.

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) – Youth
The High Level-Group Report, released in 2006, identified youth as one of the four priority areas for the activities of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
In the intervening years, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) has developed programming which recognizes young people as essential partners in achieving the vision of the organization. The current youth generation is acknowledged as the largest in history, with the global agenda increasingly focused on young people as agents of change and key actors in powerful social movements. Youth play a critical role in shaping major political advancements, as well as being able to address the challenges related to international, regional, national and local instability. Moreover, young people are the most able to mobilize their peers, to be the principle stakeholders of societies that are increasingly free from stereotypes, discrimination and violent extremism. Their engagement in fostering mutual understanding between peoples of different cultures and religions is crucial in building sustainable peace.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
UNCTAD Youth Network
Youth are the decision-makers of tomorrow and can play a powerful role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Through the UNCTAD Youth Network, women and men between the ages of 18 and 30 can help to build the narrative about the future by sharing ideas and experiences, working with fellow youth in preparing inputs to UNCTAD meetings on trade and development-related issues, make their voice be heard in major youth events and more!

Youth Talks: https://unctad.org/topic/youth/youth-talks

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Youth Empowerment
Today, the world is home to 1.8 billion young people, the largest generation of youth in history. They are more interconnected than ever before, and many are leading political, social, and economic change in their communities and societies. At the same time, young people face significant challenges and risks, disproportionately carried by girls and young women in many parts of the world. In many countries, youth exclusion is strongly evident, often crossing with other forms of marginalization linked to gender, location, culture and/or community, undermining development and social cohesion. In many cases, social norms continue to sideline youth, treating political and economic participation as the prerogative of older people. While a few national policy frameworks have started to pay deliberate attention to youth concerns, much more can be done. In all countries, youth need to be full participants in shaping and implementing the choices that affect them.
UNDP recognizes that young people can be positive agents of change and represent an immense and valuable potential that governments and institutions should nurture and invest in. UNDP seeks to enhance those aspects required for vibrant democratic governance, including by advancing initiatives focused on youth empowerment and engagement in peace and development processes.

Youth4Peace Global Knowledge Portal
The Youth4Peace Global Knowledge Portal was initiated through the multi-stakeholder partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), Search for Common Ground (SfCG) and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY), working together through the inter-agency Working Group on Youth & Peacebuilding and now through the Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security. The platform, launched in 2016 to promote and support the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, is hosted by UNDP Youth-GPS.

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) – Children and Youth
Young people are tremendously innovative, adaptable, and resourceful. Empowering young people is the world’s best chance of building resilient communities as they comprise the largest and most interconnected generation in history. Yet, young people are particularly vulnerable to disasters. Contributing as powerful change actors and resilience-builders, young people must be part of disaster risk reduction action. Acknowledging their capacity to influence decision making processes on behalf of their communities and their ability to communicate and bring meaningful change in behaviour and attitudes, UNDRR supports and harnesses the energy and motivation of youth to find solutions to risk and participate in disaster risk reduction for enhanced resilience, aligned with the UN Strategy “Youth2030: Working with and for Young People”.
Key focus areas include: – Capacity & Risk knowledge: Building capacity of youth and enhancing risk knowledge to build resilience and reduce disasters; – Innovation & Communication: Empowering youth to drive innovation and novel communication to enhance the implementation of the Sendai Framework; – Advocacy & Action: Supporting youth efforts on DRR advocacy and action.
UNDRR works primarily with youth through the Major Group on Children and Youth (MGCY) DRR Working Group (DRR WG). The MGCY is the UN’s official mechanism for channelling youth participation in sustainable development. The DRR Working Group was established during the Sendai Framework negotiation process and was one of the first MGCY Working Groups. We also work with the Secretary-General’s Envoy on YouthUNICEFUN-Women and the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD).

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – Youth Programmes & Initiatives
Youth are central in achieving a more sustainable and healthier planet. Young people have a special role in instigating change and action on the pressing global challenges. Equally, they are pivotal to finding innovative solutions that speak to local and global realities. As such, UNEP has given special attention to the work of young people around the globe for the environment and we are committed to providing safe and open platforms to support interaction with decision-makers.
Platforms and initiatives across UNEP have given relevant roles to young people, developing meaningful engagement in the environmental space. UNEP recognizes the importance of working with and for young people. Our programmes make a stronger coordination effort for meaningful youth participation.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO with, by and for youth
According to the World Youth Report (2020), there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 per cent of the global population.
Youth is a priority group for UNESCO. Recognizing their creativity, innovation and capacity to make change happen in the world, we firmly believe that young people are crucial actors, leaders, and partners. UNESCO is committed to accompany them in fighting inequality, contributing to sustainable development and building peace.
For over 20 years, we have been working with thousands of young people worldwide by establishing and supporting youth-led initiatives and networks, strengthening youth capacities, fostering their knowledge production, and creating dialogue spaces between youth, policymakers and other partners. We have also been actively and meaningfully engaging youth in our programmes in all of UNESCO’s field of competence, from design to implementation and follow-up.
Young people embody hope for better, innovative, and more effective solutions to the world’s challenges! UNESCO is working actively to ensure that their voices are heard because they matter.

United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC) – YOUNGO
YOUNGO is the official children and youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). YOUNGO is a vibrant, global network of children and youth activists (up to 35 years) as well as youth NGOs, who contribute to shaping the intergovernmental climate change policies and strive to empower youth to formally bring their voices to the UNFCCC processes.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Youth participation & leadership
Today’s generation of young people is absolutely massive: Some 1.8 billion people are between ages 10 and 24. Most of them live in developing countries, often comprising a huge proportion of the population. How well they navigate adolescence will determine not only the course of their own lives, but that of the world. Yet too many youth are unable to participate fully in society. Around 175 million young people in low-income countries cannot read a full sentence. Among those aged 15-24, some 500 million live on less than $2 a day, and over 73 million are unemployed. For girls, the barriers to participation are even higher. But when empowered and given the right opportunities, youth are effective drivers of change. UNFPA partners with young people, helping them participate in decisions affecting them, and strengthening their ability to advance human rights and development issues such as health, education and employment.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) – Youth
We work to ensure that young women and men have a voice in local government, access to livelihoods and can enjoy their rights in cities. Youth empowerment is mainstreamed across all programmatic work of UN-Habitat. All programmes, country-level work and topics engage with youth. The primary aim of mainstreaming is to provide support and technical guidance to project managers.

Urban Youth Fund
The UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund empowers global youth by providing grants and capacity building to selected organizations in developing countries. Yearly, more than 8,000 youth-led organizations start the application process to be part of the program. Approximately 30 organizations are selected yearly to receive a grant up to 25,000 USD and capacity building support throughout the duration of the project. These organizations span various sectors, from technology and agriculture to education and poverty reduction. Every year, the Fund supports new and innovative ideas and solutions for job creation, good governance, adequate shelter and secure tenure planned and implemented by youth-led groups globally. By undertaking research on best practices in youth-led development the fund also creates greater awareness of youth-led development and the urgency to ensure that youth perspectives are integrated into local, national and international development policies and strategies. Applicants organizations must be led by young people aged 15-32 years and be based in cities or towns in developing countries to qualify for a grant. Support in terms of training, mentorship and the E- Learning programs is provided primarily for. Projects encouraging gender equality or involving partnerships with the government or the private sector are particularly encouraged.

UN Habitat-Youth
Youth and Cities, Partnering with Youth and Cities, One-stop model for urban youth development.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – Youth
Growing up is tough, but imagine growing up a refugee. Having fled war or persecution, displaced youth aged 15-24 are often thrust into an uncertain world and may find themselves at increased risk of sexual and gender based violence, forced recruitment, exploitation and detention. They can also become targets of xenophobia, harassment and discrimination.
As well as their homes, many refugee youth may also lose access to skills, confidence, social circles, aspirations and dreams.
With your help, UNHCR works tirelessly to protect forcibly displaced youth from abuse and exploitation. We also aim to nurture their potential and support them as they restart their lives, providing skills development, education, psychosocial support, family reunification and recreational programmes. Together, by supporting the youth of today, we can build a better world for tomorrow.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF x Youth: Working for young people means working with them.
Young people have long stood at the forefront of calls for peace, justice and equity. They have an internationally recognized right to be heard on matters that affect them.
That’s why UNICEF engages more young people on global issues than any child rights organization on the planet.
With on-the-ground teams in over 190 countries, and online platforms that mobilize millions, we poll, survey and consult with young people on the decisions that matter most.

Voices of Youth
Voices of Youth is a global community for young people to learn about development issues (such as Environment, Education, Human Rights, etc) and to express their opinions. Voices of Youth seeks to create a space that will help young people develop into active global citizens equipped to communicate and collaborate effectively to make a positive difference in their countries and communities. On VOY, young people will gain knowledge and awareness of the key thematic issues affecting young people around the world, enabling them to have an open and honest dialogue about the world in which they live.

United Nations – Office for Disarmament Afffairs (UNODA) – Youth4Disarmament (Y4D) initiative
What is the Youth4Disarmament Initiative? It is a youth outreach initiative established in 2019 by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs to connect geographically diverse young people with experts to learn about current international security challenges, the work of the United Nations and how to actively participate.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Youth & UNODC
In February 2021, UNODC launched its Strategy for 2021-2025, which underscored youth empowerment as a cross-cutting commitment of the Office. Youth empowerment means involving young people in problem-solving and uplifting their voices in decision-making processes. To meaningfully engage youth, young people need to be involved in every step of the programme cycle. Initiatives should not only be implemented “for” youth, but also “with” youth, to allow for co-creation.
In order to support this cross-cutting commitment, UNODC launched the Youth Empowerment Accelerator Framework – or the YEA! Framework. The YEA! Framework maps out UNODC’s youth-focused initiatives and proposes key youth mainstreaming actions to accelerate the impact of young people across the Office. The YEA! Framework further demonstrates that UNODC is committed to working with youth to build more resilient societies and find solutions to problems related to drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism.

Youth Initiative
UNODC Youth Initiative aims to connect young people from around the globe and empower them to become active in their schools, communities and youth groups for substance use prevention and health promotion. It provides a platform for youth to share their experiences, ideas and creativity, and to get support for creating their own substance use prevention and health promotion activities.
The United Nations is committed to empowering youth and ensuring youth engagement at all levels. In the context of substance use prevention, Youth Initiative provides youth with possibilities to participate and become active members of a community of young people committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of their peers.

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) –
Information for Students
This page lists all information of relevance to students, including on the Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education, fellowships and internships within the Office.

United Nations Volunteers (UNV) – Become a UN Youth Volunteer
UN Youth Volunteers are between 18 and 29 years old, and work with UN agencies on the frontlines of political, developmental and humanitarian operations.

Universal Postal Union (UPU) –
International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People
Since 1971, the UPU has encouraged young writers aged 9-15 to write letters on a given theme to win exciting prizes. The competition is an excellent way of making young people aware of the important role postal services play in our societies. It develops their skills in composition and their ability to express thoughts clearly. It also fosters enjoyment of letter writing and helps strengthen the bonds of international friendship.
The UPU’s secretariat, the International Bureau, chooses a theme annually and publicizes it each year. Participating countries then organize the competition at the national level through the Post, often with the support of the educational authorities and media.

World Food Programme (WFP) – Freerice: WFP’s new Youth Hub
Freerice.com aims to empower and engage young people to learn more about issues such as hunger, sustainability and gender equality.

World Health Organization (WHO)
Health promoting schools

A health promoting school is one that constantly strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working.

Violence against children
Youth violence is a global public health problem. It includes a range of acts from bullying and physical fighting, to more severe sexual and physical assault to homicide.
Youth violence dramatically increases health, welfare and criminal justice costs; reduces productivity; and generally undermines the fabric of society. Beyond deaths, injuries and psychological harm, youth violence can lead to increased health risk behaviours such as smoking, substance abuse, unsafe sex, and further violence. These in turn are associated with chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, early pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Effective prevention and response strategies include those that promote parenting and early childhood development; school-based bullying prevention, academic, and life and social skills development programmes; therapeutic approaches with high-risk individuals, and community- and society-level approaches like reducing access to and misuse of alcohol and firearms, hotspots and problem-oriented policing, urban upgrading, and poverty de-concentration.
WHO and partners decrease youth violence through initiatives that help to identify, quantify and respond to the problem, these include: developing a package for schools-based violence prevention programmes; drawing attention to the magnitude of youth violence and the need for prevention; building evidence on the scope and types of violence in different settings; developing guidance for Member States and all relevant sectors to prevent youth violence and strengthen responses to it; supporting national efforts to prevent youth violence; and collaborating with international agencies and organizations to prevent youth violence globally.

Global Youth Mobilization
Global Youth Mobilization is a movement of young people taking action to tackle global issues to improve their lives and their communities. Founded in December 2020 by the world’s largest youth organizations, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Foundation as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Youth Mobilization aims to address the negative impact of the pandemic on young people and support them to build back better.

World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO Youth Engagement
Welcome to our virtual hub for young creators and innovators. Whether you’re an artist, entrepreneur, inventor, or simply someone with a burning passion to make a difference, you’ve come to the right place.
We believe that the power of ideas knows no bounds. We understand the exhilaration that comes with birthing a new concept, refining it, and witnessing its impact on the world. We are here to create an environment where your ideas can thrive and flourish, supported by our intellectual property (IP) resources at every step.
Now is the time to unlock your potential and harness your creativity to shape a brighter future. Join us as we celebrate the energy, passion, and ingenuity of young creators and innovators like you. Together, let’s break barriers, challenge norms, and inspire the world with our boundless potential.

World Meteorological Organization – WMO for YOUTH

World Trade Organization (WTO) – Students and young professionals
Explore this page to find out more about the work of the WTO, opportunities for students and young professionals, and how trade is relevant to you and your country.

World Bank Group Youth Summit
Established in 2013, the Youth Summit is an annual event hosted by the World Bank Group to engage with youth globally on the most pressing issues facing their generation.


Past UN Events & Observances

International Year of Youth: August 2010 – August 2011
On 18 December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/64/134 proclaiming the year commencing on 12 August 2010 as the International Year of Youth (IYY): Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. The Year coincided with the 25th anniversary of the first International Youth Year in 1985 on the theme Participation, Development and Peace.

General Assembly High-level Meeting on Youth, 25-26 July 2011
The General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/65/267 decided that the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on Youth shall be held on 25 and 26 July 2011 in New York and that the overarching theme of the high-level meeting shall be “Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”. The high-level meeting comprised two consecutive informal interactive roundtables on 25 July 2011 and two plenary meetings on 26 July 2011.


Additional Resources

World Youth Report (WYR)
The World Youth Report (WYR) is a flagship publication of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD). The Report addresses youth development issues around the world.

Dag Hammarskjöld Library Research Guide – Youth and Sustainable Development

ILO Library Research Guide – Youth Employment

Resources on Youth, Security and Peace

“We Are Here: An integrated approach to youth-inclusive peace processes” (April 2019): https://www.un.org/youthenvoy/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Global-Policy-Paper-Youth-Participation-in-Peace-Processes.pdf

B Flat, B Sharp, Be Inspired: Voices of Youth; Civil Society and Disarmament 2022: https://front.un-arm.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Civil-Society-and-Disarmament-2022-rev.pdf

Climate Concern to Climate Action: The Role of Young Social Entrepreneurs (UNDP, October 2022): https://bit.ly/3DEKD8T

Youth2030: A Global Progress Report, 2022: https://www.unyouth2030.com/progressreport

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January 2024
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