The First Global Forum on Youth Policies started on October 27th with large participation from member states and youth. The Forum marked a special occasion with the largest gathering of youth ministers since Lisbon 1998. Currently, globally 122 countries have youth policies, with another 36 updating their youth policy. The First Global Forum on Youth Policies, convening in Baku, Azerbaijan, had 115 countries represented at the senior or ministerial level.

Audience at the opening of the First Global Forum on Youth Policies

The Forum, organized in the context of the World Programme of Action for Youth, provided a timely platform to reengage governments about their commitments to youth policy. The World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond (WPAY) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1995 to provide a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people around the world.

First Global Forum on Youth Policies is co-convened the office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in partnership with UNESCO, United Nations Development Programme and the Council of Europe, and hosted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan. Over 700 attendees from 165 countries representing youth policy experts, NGOs, youth delegates, governments and 71 UN officials attended the Forum.

The opening of the First Global Forum on Youth Policies

In opening remarks, the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, said that to date, only 23 countries have reported progress on implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth. He noted that the Forum provides an opportunity celebrate the advancement of youth policies, and to also reengage government commitments to implementing the World Programme of Action for Youth.

The Forum content aims to critically looking at gaps and challenges in the development and implementation of youth policies globally and address how to move forward.

In a video message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on youth to raise their voices and reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to work with youth. “Young people are leaders of tomorrow, but we must listen to them today” said Ban Ki-moon.

Alhendawi called upon attendees and governments to utilize the opportunity of the 20th Anniversary of the World Programme of Action on Youth to engage diverse public, private and civil-society stakeholders to come together to revitalize a commitment to youth development.

A commemorative logo, with the theme “Invest in Youth,” was unveiled during the opening ceremony with a call to action for attendees to engage both personally and institutionally to driving the yearlong commemorative campaign.

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“Youth policy has come a long way” said Alhendawi, “however, we still have a long road ahead. For this special anniversary year, we urge you all to host public engagement initiatives that both inspire people, institutions and governments to celebrate the milestones in advancing the youth agenda, while also advocating for further actions to be taken.”

The First Global Forum on Youth Policies is a three-day forum that will continue until October 30, 2014. For more information about the commemorative logo and its use, email