Welcome to the United Nations Programme on Youth (UNPY)

The United Nations Programme on Youth is the focal point within the United Nations Secretariat on issues related to youth. It is the only part of the Secretariat that is mandated exclusively to deal with youth issues. The Programme is part of the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The Programme on Youth is, in particular, responsible for monitoring progress and constraints in addressing the objectives of the World Programme of Action for Youth. The Programme is also charged with playing a lead role in inter-agency consultations on youth development.


The Programme on Youth conducts research and analysis on youth and provides information to Governments, youth, civil society and other parts of the United Nations system on issues and activities relating to youth development. It publishes the biannual World Youth Report, which presents analytical discussions on selected topics related to youth development. Taking a regional approach, the 2007 Report, for example, examined the opportunities and challenges that youth face during their transition to adulthood. Through Reports of the Secretary-General and other documentation for the General Assembly and the Commission on Social Development, the Youth Programme also contributes to informing Governments and the international community about key developments in the area of youth and, especially, on progress made in the 15 priority areas of the WPAY. The Programme services the Commission on Social Development and the Third Committee of the General Assembly, providing draft texts for consideration of these bodies and assisting with negotiations of resolutions on youth.

To promote information sharing on activities within and outside the UN system on youth issues, the Programme on Youth also produces Youth Flash, an electronic newsletter. Youth Flash includes an in-depth feature on a topical youth issue and provides an overview of youth-related activities organized by the entire UN system.


International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August. The Programme on Youth selects a theme for the day in consultation with youth organizations, the Department of Public Information and other UN system offices and agencies. It also organizes a commemoration of the Day at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Programme encourages youth around the world to organize activities to raise awareness about the situation of youth in their country. Youth are encouraged to send in a description of their planned activities to youth@un.org. The most creative activities are featured on the Programme’s website to provide a sense of how International Youth Day is being commemorated around the world and to encourage other youth to take action.


A major part of the work of the UN Programme on Youth involves working with civil society, especially youth-led organizations that are working with young people, particularly at the grassroots level, to address various areas of the World Programme of Action for Youth. The Programme on Youth cooperates with and assists these youth-led organizations. It arranges consultative meetings, briefings and other discussions with them to guide their work, and it also gathers their inputs and feeds them into intergovernmental discussions. Young people, both as individual experts and as representatives of organizations, are also involved in Expert Group Meetings and other substantive discussions organized by the Programme on Youth.


The Programme collaborates closely with the Technical Cooperation Unit of the Division for Social Policy and Development. The Unit works directly with Governments and other stakeholders to translate international agreements—such as the World Programme of Action for Youth—into practical strategies and projects at the regional and national levels. The Technical Cooperation Unit draws on the expertise of the Programme on Youth and, in turn, feeds experiences gained from the field into the Programme’s work in support of the intergovernmental policy development process. Cooperation is often initiated at the request of a Government or UN counterpart, and technical cooperation advisers work closely with other parts of the UN system. In 2007/2008, activities of the technical cooperation unit that relate to youth included providing support for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Young People in Iberoamerica; working to integrate youth concerns into poverty reduction strategies in Africa; and enhancing capacity to deal effectively with issues related to illicit small arms
and violence.


An important dimension of the Programme on Youth’s work relates to strengthening the participation of youth in decision-making processes at all levels in order to increase their contribution to national and international development. The Programme provides advisory services to other United Nations system offices and other stakeholders on how to ensure active youth engagement in their initiatives.

Through publications, advocacy and the provision of advisory services, the Programme on Youth facilitates the inclusion of youth representatives in Member States’ official delegations to the General Assembly and other intergovernmental bodies. Youth delegates frequently deliver official statements on behalf of the youth in their
countries, and some negotiate actively on the text of resolutions. The Programme provides information, advisory and orientation services to youth delegates before and during their stay in New York to facilitate their effective participation at UN meetings.

Various activities of the Programme aim to support and encourage youth initiatives and their meaningful engagement in the development dialogue. The Programme supports and encourages youth to plan and carry out projects in support of youth development. A toolkit, Making commitments matter, for example, guides youth organizations on how to evaluate their Governments’ efforts to implement the WPAY. The website of the Programme on Youth provides a wealth of information to support youth participation and it also provides an opportunity for youth to provide feedback to
the Programme.


  • World Youth Reports 2003, 2005 and 2007
  • Guide to the Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth
  • Making commitments matter: a toolkit for young people to evaluate national youth policy
  • A brief guide to youth delegates to the United Nations General Assembly
  • Various Reports of the Secretary-General related to youth issues


United Nations Programme on Youth
Division for Social Policy and Development
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
2 UN Plaza, DC2-1336
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: +1 212 963 3062

E-mail: youth@un.org
Website: www.un.org/youth

United Nations Programme on Youth (UNPY)