Less than two months after the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, the members of the newly launched Global Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action met at UN Headquarters in New York to set out a detailed and concrete plan to turn youth-led humanitarian action into reality.

The 2-day meeting, convened by UNFPA in close partnership with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, saw the participation of representatives from over 30 different organizations from around the globe that have endorsed the Compact. The meeting was the first opportunity for the document’s co-signers to sit down and discuss how to take the Compact forward and set out a plan of action to ensure the delivery of its priority areas.  

“The adoption of the Compact at the World Humanitarian Summit was a very important step forward in our efforts to highlight the humanitarian condition of young people around the globe,” said the UN Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi during the opening session. “We are,” he continued, “the first attempt at ensuring that the needs of young people are addressed by the humanitarian system.”  During the 2-day gathering, participants engaged in lively discussions and workshop activities, looking for ways to ensure that the implementation of the Compact will reflect the priorities and needs of young people.

The Compact is centered around 5 key actions:

Action 1: Promote inclusive programmes that contribute to the protection, health and development of young women, young men, girls and boys within humanitarian settings;

Action 2: Support systematic engagement and partnership with youth, in all phases of humanitarian action through sharing of information and involvement in decision-making processes at all levels, including budget allocations;

Action 3: Recognize and strengthen young people’s capacities to be effective humanitarian actors, and empower and support local youth-led initiatives and organizations in humanitarian response, such as those targeting affected youth, including young refugees and internally displaced persons living in informal urban settlements and slums;

Action 4: Increase resources to address the needs and priorities of adolescents and youth affected by humanitarian crises, and identify ways to more accurately track and report on the resources allocated to young people in humanitarian contexts;

Action 5: Ensure the generation and use of age- and sex- disaggregated data pertaining to adolescents and youth in humanitarian settings;

Today half of the 1.4 billion people living in countries affected by crises and fragility are under the age of 20.  Many of them, especially girls and young women, face poverty and exploitation. Yet their needs are often neglected and overlooked by providers of humanitarian assistance.

One of the key points discussed at the meeting was to ensure that the Compact’s five actions can effectively address this gap in the humanitarian system.

During the meeting, participants identified joint activities and key objectives to be pursued in both the short and long run. They also identified important opportunities and next steps to take in order to increase awareness of the Compact. Finally, the meeting also discussed how to ensure youth participation throughout the Compact’s implementation process.

Participants included representatives from key NGOs in the humanitarian sector, UN agencies, youth-focused and youth-led organizations, the private sector, the Major Group for Children and Youth and others.

Read the Global Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action.


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History in the Making at World Humanitarian Summit: New Compact for Young People