New York – 29 May 2015

A view of the GA Hall, as more than 600 young people from all over the world gathered on 9 July 1970 for the opening of the World Youth Assembly, as part of the observance of the 25th Anniversary of the Organization. UN Photo/R Grunbaum

General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters

The High-level Event of the General Assembly marks the 20th Anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) and offers an important opportunity for Member States and other relevant stakeholders to take stock of progress made in its implementation, identify the gaps and challenges ahead while discussing the best way forward for the full, effective and accelerated implementation of this ground-breaking agreement. Full Concept Note PDF

The High-level event was organized by the President of the General Assembly in coordination with the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.


The World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) PDF, adopted by the General Assembly in 1995, provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people around the world. The Secretary-Generals’ Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (2014) notes that in order for the sustainable development agenda to be successful it must be ‘streamlined and employ existing mechanisms and processes’. The success of the Sustainable Development Goals is therefore rooted in ensuring the full and effective implementation of mechanisms such as the World Programme of Action for Youth.

The WPAY remains highly relevant and inspirational, but unfortunately implementation lags behind the commitments made. Hence, 2015 is a critical year to generate new ideas on how to revitalize the commitments of governments and all other stakeholders by looking at ways to link inclusive, participatory and gender-responsive implementation of the WPAY to the post-2015 development agenda.

Objective of the High-Level Event of the General Assembly

The High-Level Event:

  1. Sought to encourage Member States and other relevant stakeholders, including youth-led organizations to implement the WPAY by developing forward-looking programmes and policies grounded in its priority areas.
  2. Paid special attention to the need to strengthen monitoring of the implementation of WPAY, including through the collection, analysis and dissemination of, reliable, comparable and relevant data on a continuous basis.
  3. Contributed to the deliberations on the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda both by examining the potential of youth to contribute to its design, and by focusing on areas relevant to youth development that can be advanced by the post- 2015 development agenda, as underscored in the World Programme of Action for Youth.
  4. Informed the discussions of the High-Level Event of the PGA that focused on the Demographic Dividend and Youth Employment held on 1 June 2015. It built on the momentum created by the previous events organized by UN partners and other relevant stakeholders, including the First Global Forum for Youth Policies, the 2015 ECOSOC Youth Forum as well as national and regional level events.

Participation in High-Level Event of the General Assembly

All Member States of the United Nations were invited to participate at the highest possible level, in particular Ministers of Youth, to this High-level Event. In addition, Member States were encouraged to include youth delegates in their delegations. The event also included representatives of United Nations entities, civil society, including youth-led and youth-focused organizations as well as other relevant stakeholders.

Format of the event:

The High-level event of the General Assembly was held on 29 May 2015, in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters.

It was a one-day event consisting of an opening plenary and open debate where Member States were given a 2-3 minute intervention to address the General Assembly on implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth and National Youth policies. The morning session was followed by two interactive panel discussions with the participation of Member States, United Nations Agencies, youth-led organizations and other stakeholders, and ended with a closing session.

Panel discussions covered the following:

  • Panel 1: Focus on stocktaking for the past 20 years since the adoption of WPAY
  • Panel 2: Focus on the Role of WPAY looking ahead in conjunction with the implementation of the SDGs

The outcome of the High-Level Event is a President’s summary PDF, which was circulated to all Member States and other relevant stakeholders.

#YouthNow WPAY+20 Campaign

Leading up to the High-level event, a global digital and social engagement campaign commemorating this landmark agreement was launched by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in February 2015. Weekly, in partnership with United Nations agencies and global stakeholders, #YouthNow will raise awareness about youth development opportunities and challenges based on the 15 cross-cutting youth priority areas outlined in WPAY, and will culminate with a month of advocacy in May. We invite Member States, youth organizations and networks and institutions to host online and offline commemorative events. See more

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