Following the designation of the International Year of Youth (2010-2011), members of the informal Inter-Agency Group formalised the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) to establish a more structured coordination mechanism and to ensure the greatest possible efficacy in UN efforts.
The IANYD is the United Nations’ inter-agency mechanism for matters related to youth. It works to advance and increase the effectiveness of the UN’s work in youth development and policy by strengthening collaboration, creating coherence and enabling exchange among all relevant UN entities. while respecting and harnessing the benefits of their individual strengths and unique approaches and mandates.
In doing so, the Network works to achieve several priorities, including, high-level political advocacy, UN system staff capacity building, and serving a knowledge and think tank function for emerging and frontier issues, across the pillars and areas of work the UN.
The main objectives of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development are:
- To identify key joint priorities and plan collaboratively to implement related initiatives;
- To share good practices and expertise and to promote effective cooperation among the entities in programming at country and regional levels;
- To identify global strategic opportunities, ensure coordinated input, facilitate and support sustainable follow-up mechanisms.
In the framework of the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) and its 15 priority areas, IANYD advocates for, supports and reviews progress on the implementation of UN Resolutions, Conventions and the internationally agreed development goals that are youth-related.
In addition, IANYD also contributes to increasing the understanding and visibility of the UN System’s work on youth development. In particular, the Network:
- Provides a forum for cooperation and support;
- Provides an opportunity for ongoing exchange of information on the UN system’s work on youth development, including through knowledge management initiatives and tools;
- Strengthens and supports cooperation to promote youth development, through joint advocacy, initiatives and other forms of cooperation;
- Draws on the members’ networks and relationships with governments, youth-led and youth-focused organizations, donor agencies, civil society organizations, multilateral organizations and others, to advance youth development;
- Facilitates and supports youth involvement and participation in the UN System and its programmes or initiatives at all levels.
Composition and Coordination
The Network consists of representatives identified by the Heads of UN entities whose work is relevant to youth issues. Its current membership includes around 55 UN entities.
IANYD has three co-chairs. The UN Focal Point on Youth within the Division for Inclusive Social of UN-DESA is the permanent co-chair of the Network. As such, DESA coordinates administrative functions of the Network and provides support and continuity to the other co-chairs and the Network as required. The two other co-chairs include: a 1) rotating UN entity selected by the members on an annual basis, and 2) the IANYD Youth Caucus.
The Network holds regular meetings at UNHQ, with telephone/video conferencing to other Duty Stations outside UNHQ. A meeting of the entities’ representatives is held on an annual basis, typically in March.
The Network promotes the development of similar inter-agency mechanisms on youth development at the regional and country levels and works with these entities to ensure global and cross-regional coordination of collaborative initiatives.
IANYD Tool to Meaningfully engaging with youth: Guidance and training for UN staff
The tool “Meaningfully engaging with youth: Guidance and training for UN staff” is designed to promote meaningful youth engagement practices across the UN’s work relevant to youth. It can be used for building a common understanding of meaningful youth engagement practices for all UN staff working across the UN’s programmes and activities relevant to youth. Youth-relevant programmes and activities include those that are specifically for youth, as well as those that impact on youth. Initially developed by UNESCO to strengthen the capacities of its staff to meaningfully engage with youth, the tool has been adapted as a system-wide tool and endorsed by the IANYD.
ECOSOC Youth Forum
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum is an annual initiative of the President of the Council. It has evolved into a key platform where young people can contribute to policy discussions at the United Nations through their collective ideas, solutions and innovations
The forum is overseen by the President of ECOSOC and is co-organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, in collaboration with the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development and co-convened by youth partners. IANYD brings the perspective of the entire UN system into the organisation of the forum.
Youth 2030: The UN Youth Strategy
Launched in 2018, Youth 2030, the United Nations’ system-wide Youth Strategy acts as an umbrella framework that guides the UN’s efforts to strengthen its work with and for young people across the three pillars – peace and security, human rights and sustainable development – in all contexts. The co chairs of the IANYD are members of the High Level Steering Committee of strategy and its Joint Working Work.
The thematic work relevant to IANYD is carried by dedicated inter-agency initiatives and/or working groups. These include a range of topics across the pillars of the UN. which allows interested Network members to engage in in-depth discussions and interactions on specific thematic areas. They hold regular meetings on emerging issues and planned activities in the thematic area. They may include as members of civil society organizations, in particular youth-led organizations. The selection criteria for civil society organizations are determined by the members of the sub-working group.
These inter-agency Initiatives Include the following: ( can add images/logos of all these groups too)
- Employment: Global Initiative for Decent Jobs for Youth
- Environment: Youth for Nature
- Youth and Peacebuilding: Global Coalition for Youth, Peace and Security
- Inclusive youth volunteering
- Health: H6 + Working Group on Adolescent Health
- Disaster RIsk Reduction: Working with Youth for Resilience
- Humanitarian Affairs: Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action
- Employment: Global Initiative for Decent Jobs for Youth
- Sustainable Urban Development
- Migration: Migration Youth Forum
- Sustainable Energy: Youth Sustainable Energy Hub
- Education: SDG Education 2030 Steering Committee
Youth and COVID-19
Several members of the IANYD, coordinated their entity specific actions on COVID-19 based on their area of expertise. The IANYD brought together over 50 UN entities and several youth organisations to issue a joint statement (on 21 April 2020) including a call to action on Youth and COVID 19. It highlighted the actions of young people, articulated the case for engaging with young people during and after the pandemic, and elaborated COVID 19’s impact on young people.
Youth and COVID 19 Action Platform
The IANYD partnered with the UN MGCY to create the COVID-19 Youth Action Platform, This platform aims to give visibility to a diverse set of youth initiatives responding to COVID-19 and to the health, social, and economic consequences of the pandemic.
The highlighted projects are from different countries around the world, helping their local communities with medical assistance, food distribution, arts programs, education initiatives, technology solutions and more. The platform had led to greater visibility, more networking and access to resources for these initiatives
Youth Engagement in IANYD
In order to effectively fulfil its mandate, the IANYD meaningfully engages youth through a number of ways. The network provides for youth co-leadership through the IANYD Youth Caucus as a co-chair together with UN counterparts.
In addition, it also works with formal youth constituencies, regional caucuses, rights holder groups and youth-led platforms in the UN to engage a diverse group of youth in the different initiatives.