On Wednesday 25 August, Assistant Director-General (ADG) of Social and Human Sciences Sector Pilar Álvarez Laso inaugurated UNESCO’s activities during UNESCO Mexico’s workshop on “Immaterial World Heritage and Youth”. After the ADG´s welcome, participants learned how to make traditional Mexican handcrafts and musical instruments. UNESCO Mexico promotes the conservation of world heritage through its “World Heritage in Young Hands” kit, implemented through the Associated Schools Project Networks (ASPnet).
Later in the day, IIPE-UNESCO Buenos Aires participated in a roundtable on “Education and Development”. “Today in Latin America, there are still countries where 30 – 40% of the population do not study. These young people will not have the tools they need to find work”, remarked researcher Nestor López, commenting on the need for policy that ensures youth access to the skills they need to actively participate in society.
In the afternoon, the Regional Bureau of Education for Latin American and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago) coordinated a roundtable discussion of the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education. “Many studies have shown that through access to information and skills, young people can change their behavior and lower their risk” explained Victoria Valenzuela, Sexuality Education and HIV Prevention consultant at OREALC/UNESCO Santiago.
UNESCO Montevideo coordinated the following roundtable on “Youth policies and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean”. During the event, the Office presented information on progress made in the region and remaining challenges in the implementation of youth policy, based on framework of the International Year of Youth.
Later in the afternoon, UNESCO Kingston presented the lessons learned from its Youth PATH project during a roundtable on “Youth Development and poverty reduction through sustainable community tourism”. Established in 2002 to provide training on the conservation and management of natural and cultural heritage to youth in the Caribbean, Youth PATH has trained and certified 420 young people.
Wednesday concluded with a workshop by OREALC/UNESCO Santiago on “Education for sustainable consumption and lifestyles". During the workshop, hosted by the YouthXChange programme, young people analyzed their consumer habits and determined how they can lead more sustainable lives.
UNESCO’s activities concluded on Thursday 24 August with a roundtable on “Building paths for social inclusion and prevention of violence among youth” hosted by UNESCO Brasilia and UNESCO headquarters in Paris. During the roundtable, UNESCO Brasilia described innovative approaches to violence prevention. One example is the Open Schools project, a partnership between UNESCO and the Ministry of Education to open public schools for cultural, sports, entertainment and education activities during weekends, when most violence is perpetrated. The project has been replicated in other countries in the region based on its success at reducing violence and violent death among youth.
Additional WYC activities throughout the week included an NGO Global Meeting and a Government Forum with delegates from 112 countries. At the Government Forum, OREALC/UNESCO Santiago distributed the document Education, Youth and Development: UNESCO in Latin America and the Caribbean, created in collaboration with UNESCO Offices and Institutes in the region. The document details the programmes described above and other UNESCO initiatives in the areas of quality education for all in Latin America and the Caribbean; education for peaceful coexistence and non-violence; sexuality education and HIV prevention, and education for sustainable development.
Outcomes of the World Youth Conference
WYC drew together youth, government representatives and legislators, and civil-society organizations in order to promote a broad debate on youth policies worldwide and encourage young people to promote progress with emphasis on the Millennium Development Goals.
The conference concluded with the approval of the Guanajuato Declaration by all 112 delegates present at the Government Forum. The Guanajuato Declaration analyzes the current situation young people face regarding the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for 2015 and identifies priorities for action in the areas of: public policies and investment; poverty and hunger; education; health; employment; gender equality; technology and innovation; culture; access to justice and safety; participation; sustainable development; international migration; and international cooperation.
The Guanajuato Declaration will be presented at the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2010.
• World Youth Conference Website and the Guanajuato Declaration
• Education, Youth and Development: UNESCO in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Published by OREALC/UNESCO Santiago, 2010.
• Políticas públicas de juventud en América Latina: Avances concretados y desafíos a encarar en el marco del Año Internacional de la Juventud
(Public policy for youth in Latin America and the Caribbean: achievements and challenges in the framework of the International Year of Youth, available in Spanish only). Published by UNESCO Brasilia and OREALC/UNESCO Santiago, 2010.
• UNESCO: Acting With and For Youth
• United Nations International Year of Youth
• Millennium Development Goals and Information on the September Summit