In April 2013 the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) endorsed a System-wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP)  as a framework to guide youth programming for the UN system.

It focuses on joint action by the UN system on the issues of employment and entrepreneurship, political inclusion, civic engagement and protection of rights, education, including sexuality education, and health. It is expected to deepen the youth focus of new and existing programmes of the UN system and to promote joint programmatic work.

The Youth-SWAP has five overarching goals related to the thematic areas:

  • Employment and Entrepreneurship: Ensure greater opportunities for youth to secure decent work and income over the life-cycle, contributing to a virtuous circle of poverty reduction, sustainable development and social inclusion
  • Protection of rights and civic engagement: Ensure the inherent rights of youth are recognized and upheld to enable young people’s engagement in all aspects of their development
  • Political Inclusion: Ensure the progressive, substantive inclusion of young people in political and decision-making processes at local, national, regional and international levels
  • Education, including comprehensive sexuality education: Ensure that young people, on an inclusive, equitable and universal basis, are actively learning in formal or non-formal education systems, and are receiving quality education on sexual and reproductive health.
  • Health: Ensure that young people, on an inclusive, equitable and universal basis, enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

How will the Youth-SWAP be implemented?

Each thematic area consists of commitments (or outcomes) towards which the UN system will work, the measures (or results) that need to be achieved in order to meet these commitments, and indicators to monitor implementation of the measures. For each measure, a list of lead and supporting entities, which are responsible for contributing to the implementation of the measure, was also developed. The commitments, measures and related indicators are grounded in mandates received from intergovernmental bodies, including the World Programme of Action for Youth.

In implementing the commitments and measures of the Youth-SWAP, UN entities at the country, regional and global levels are expected to identify ways in which existing activities can complement each other in order to exploit synergies. Options for joint programming in areas in which entities are in the process of developing programmatic work should also be explored.

Origins of the Youth-SWAP

In recent years, Member States have requested  the UN system to intensify efforts towards a more coherent, comprehensive and integrated approach to youth development within the context of the World Programme of Action for Youth.

In his Five-Year Action Agenda , the UN Secretary-General laid out five generational imperatives to be addressed by the United Nations – working with and for young people is one of these imperatives.

In response to these calls for action, the Youth-SWAP was prepared by the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) informed by input from youth  and other relevant stakeholders, and with the strong participation and commitment of the United Nations system.