Sunday, March 29, 2009

UNESCO and 15 to 24 Year Olds

The question often comes up as to how UNESCO serves youths. There is a facet of the UNESCO website that describes the Organization's approach to youth, but there doesn't seem to be a separate Youth Portal specifically designed to be lively and directed to the interests of young adults.

I would guess that UNESCO's most important function with respect to youth is encouraging countries to develop youth-friendly policies and services. This is a prototypical function for an intergovernmental organization.

In this respect, the Infoyouth Network was created by UNESCO to provide an overview of youth policies and programs throughout the world.
The Infoyouth network operates in conjunction with the National Commissions for UNESCO, youth organisations, governmental and non governmental institutions and information and data research agencies and bodies. The Steering Committee, made up of representatives from UNESCO, the French National Commission for UNESCO, the Youth and Community Education Unit of the French Ministry for Youth and Sports and the National Institute for Youth and Community Education ensures a regular follow-up of all Infoyouth projects.
UNESCO also engages in partnerships with young people’s networks and organizations both to solicit information from them and to help them develop projects and programs in the areas of UNESCO’s competence.

Recall that UNESCO has a relatively small staff and budget as compared with the challenges it faces at the lead agency in the intergovernmental United Nations system in education, science, culture and communications and information. As such its direct services to youths must necessarily be limited. One important function however, is the Youth Forum UNESCO holds in conjunction with each of its General Conferences. The next Youth Forum will be this fall.

John Daly
(Opinions expressed above are mine and do not necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO.)

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