Youth Set Vision for Their Future

Article Date

11 December 2012

Article Author

By Gillian Gaynair

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

Nearly 1,000 delegates at the recent Global Youth Forum in Bali, Indonesia established the first-ever set of recommendations outlining a vision for young people’s future around the world.

The three-day event was co-hosted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the government of Indonesia as part of the official United Nations review of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. It drew more than 600 young leaders from some 130 countries, as well as hundreds of representatives from governments, United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector. More than 2,500 people participated virtually via online platforms.

Suzanne Petroni,who directs the International Center for Research on Women’s (ICRW) gender, population and development program, helped organize the forum and facilitated discussions during the event. “The thousands of youth and youth allies from around the world who participated in the Global Youth Forum have jointly designed the most positive, comprehensive and forward-looking framework for the world’s young people we have ever seen,” Petroni said. “As the international community creates a global development agenda beyond 2015, the Bali Declaration should form an integral part of their discussions.”

Among its recommendations, the Bali declaration – an official United Nations document – calls on governments to:

  • Provide and evaluate universal access to youth-friendly health services including sexual and reproductive health services that include safe and legal abortion, maternity care, contraception, and prevention, care, treatment and counseling for HIV and sexually-transmitted infections
  • Ensure and fund universal access to quality, comprehensive education at all levels
  • End harmful traditional practices, such as early and forced marriage and genital mutilation
  • Repeal laws and regulations that permit violence and/or discrimination against young people, especially those who are marginalized, including laws that criminalize young people living with HIV/AIDS and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth
  • Increase investment in programs that foster youth entrepreneurship and job training
  • Ensure equitable access to decent work free from discrimination and respectful of diversity of all young people

Read more: Suzanne Petroni’s commentary about the forum, The Power and Promise of Youth and the full text of the Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration.