DELIVERING ON NATIONAL YOUTH STRATEGIES: A HIGH-LEVEL POLICY DIALOGUE ON YOUTH WELL-BEING
4 APRIL 2018
OECD CONFERENCE CENTRE, PARIS
Today's world youth population, ages 10 to 24, is 1.8 billion people strong and represents the largest cohort ever to be transitioning to adulthood. The vast majority of these young people - 88% - live in developing countries. That number will practically double in the least developed countries by 2050. These young people are the next generation and a unique asset. If properly nurtured, they can be engines for economic and social progress. However, if policies and programmes fail to reach young people, in particular disadvantaged youth, and give them a voice in decision-making, the youth bulge may well turn into a brake for economic and social development, leading to increasing poverty, illegal migration, failed citizenship or, worse, social conflict.
Evidence from the Youth Inclusion project’s Youth Well-being Policy Reviews conducted in nine developing countries suggests that a large segment of youth continues to remain outside of mainstream economic and social life. Gaps in initial education and skills policies are forcing too many young people to leave the school system at an early age, unprepared for work and life. Unemployment and vulnerable employment are widespread among youth: young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and this is an important cause of social unrest. Adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs are poorly addressed while new health risks have emerged. Gender-based discrimination in social norms is an important barrier to access SRH. Too many young people remain excluded from decision making processes that affect their lives.
In this context, many countries throughout the world have expressed a growing political will to develop comprehensive policy frameworks that better respond to young peoples’ needs and aspirations. Efforts to support more effective policies for young people are mirrored in the fact that today nearly 2 out of 3 countries in the world have a national youth policy. However more needs to be done to turn these strategies into effective interventions.
With co-financing from the European Union, the OECD Development Centre implemented a Youth Inclusion project (2014-2017) to analyse policies for youth in nine developing countries using a well-being approach and to carry out global research on youth entrepreneurship, youth aspirations and rural youth livelihoods.
Objectives of the meeting
The objectives of this meeting were to:
The meeting brought together high-level policy makers from the project’s partner countries, representatives from OECD countries, international organisations and experts on youth, youth organisations, donors and the private sector to exchange good practices and lessons learnt in implementing youth policies and programmes and to identify innovative approaches.