In 1995, the Member States of the United Nations jointly adopted ‘World Programme of Action for Youth’ to the Year 2000 and beyond (WPAY). The final ratification of the Action Plan took place in 2007. The Action Plan provided framework and practical guidelines for national and expected international support for improving the conditions of young people around the world, while it doubles as the first global blueprint suggesting roadmap for achieving an effective National Youth Policy in respective countries.
If established and properly implemented, a National Policy on Youth is supposed to provide all-encompassing vision for all programs and activities relating to youth in one country. The priority areas of the WPAY indicate the range of policy areas to be covered through its 15 priority areas:
- Hunger and Poverty
- Drug abuse
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Leisure-time activities
- Girls and young women
- Full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and in decision making
- Information and communications technology
- Armed conflict
- Intergenerational Issues
In 2012, the United Nations Secretary-General pronounced ‘advancing youth issues’ priority of his Five-Year Action Agenda. In his renewed commitment to youth matters, the Secretary General directed Inter-agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD), to develop a System-wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP). Endorsed in 2013, the Youth-SWAP provides strategic guidance to the UN system as a whole in its work with and for young people, based on the mandate of the WPAY, and incorporates an important focus on policy development and implementation with and for youth.
In view of this development, the action of the Secretary General has started showing positive light with the conveyance of First Global Forum on Youth Policies with supports form UN office of Secretary General’s Envoy on youth, UNDP, UNESCO, European Union and Government of Azerbaijan.
Riding on this development, and foreseeing regional actions on youth policies by the UN in the nearest future, the need to establish a youth-led platform to serve as bedrock for advancing cause for successful youth policy implementation in respective African countries becomes inevitable.