20 years after, for a full implementation of the WPAY
At the beginning of this year, the Youth Forum highlighted the 20th anniversary of the WPAY (World Programme of Action for Youth). The commemoration of this 20th anniversary was held last Friday at the UN headquarters in New York. This event also took place in the context of the post-2015 development framework negotiations and focused on the connections between WPAY and sustainable development.
The Youth Forum welcomes and supports the existence of the WPAY and that the process for its creation included the participation of young people. But the WPAY remains an unfinished tool. It is not yet properly implemented and monitored, as there was no plan for it.
The Youth Forum would have loved to see implementation of the WPAY 20 years ago when it was a progressive agenda. In 2015 it will now be important to link the WPAY and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) to make use of the most progressive areas from both agendas to further the participation, rights and opportunities of youth. Bringing greater visibility to the WPAY should be accompanied by a review of this framework and ensuring the linkages to the post-2015 agenda.
Lack of implementation of the WPAY contributes to the lack of presence of youth in the SDGs. And this, unfortunately follows on from the lack of focus on youth in the Millennium Development Goals (MSGs). It is imperative that the SDGs don’t go in this direction too, but for the moment, despite the rhetoric, young people are underrepresented. Lack of implementation, political will and commitment can be seen as one reason for the underrepresentation of youth in the SDG agenda.
Several of the fifteen priority areas of the WPAY are included in the post-2015 agenda, but many of them are are not included for youth. For example, young people are particularly affected by poverty, they are not, however, mentioned in Goal 1 of the proposed SDGs. Young people have a right to participate in decision-making and governance, they are not, however, included in Goal 16. And perhaps if the WPAY had been better implemented 20 years ago and more efforts had been made to tackle education, young people’s health and participation of young people, we would not need to see these areas in the post-2015 agenda today.
In order to fully implement the WPAY in the context of the post-2015 agenda, young people must have access to all of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and governments must take effective action against violations of these rights and freedoms. Young people and youth organisations must also have the opportunity and structured, meaningful mechanisms to participate in the implementation of the WPAY and SDGs, and particularly in the design, monitoring and review of cross-sectoral national youth policies, regional and international policies and programmes affecting youth. Governments must be accountable to young people and representative, youth-led organisations. The Youth Forum continues to work towards this goal and hopes that this anniversary of the WPAY will be an opportunity to put the focus of the post-2015 agenda on to youth.
-About the programme : The fifteen fields of action identified by the international community are education, employment, hunger and poverty, health, environment, substance abuse, juvenile justice, leisure-time activities, girls and young women and the full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and in decision-making, as well as globalization, information and communication technologies, HIV/AIDS, armed conflict, and intergenerational issues.