The United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) is a network consisting of UN entities, represented primarily at the headquarters level, whose work is relevant to youth. The aim of the Network is to increase the effectiveness of UN work in youth development by strengthening collaboration and exchange among all relevant UN entities, while respecting and harnessing the benefits of their individual strengths and unique approaches and mandates.
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.
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 organisations 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.
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.
The Network consists of representatives identified by the Heads of UN entities whose work is relevant to youth issues. It has two co-chairs. The UN Focal Point on Youth within the Division for Social Policy and Development of UN-DESA is the permanent co-chair of the Network. As such it coordinates administrative functions of the Network and provides support and continuity to the other co-chair and the Network as required. The second co-chair of the Network is selected by the members and rotates on an annual basis. For the period March 2013-2014, the co-chair is UNFPA.
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 networks on youth development at the regional and country levels and works with these entities to ensure global and cross-regional coordination of collaborative initiatives.
As a step to strengthen and support cooperation to promote youth development, members of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development have jointly undertaken various activities, including initiatives related to the International Year of Youth, preparations for international conferences addressing youth development, as well as joint research initiatives and publications. For instance, for the International Year of Youth, IANYD developed a joint UN Framework Approach to provide a concrete framework for collective efforts during the Year.
Since 2012, IANYD members have also been working together to implement the youth-related aspects of the Secretary-General’s Five-year Action Agenda. In particular, IANYD members have come together to support the work of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and to help establish a UN Youth Volunteer Programme under the umbrella of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme. In addition, a main activity of the IANYD has been to develop a System-wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP).
The Youth-SWAP provides an opportunity to harness the strengths of the UN system in the area of youth development and to promote joint programmatic work on the issue. It provides strategic guidance to the UN system as a whole in its work on youth within the framework of the World Programme of Action for Youth. Based on the Secretary-General’s Five-year Action Agenda, the System-wide Action Plan focuses on the following thematic areas: employment, entrepreneurship, political inclusion, civic engagement and protection of rights, education, including comprehensive sexuality education, and health.
Thematic sub-working groups
Among the operational mechanisms established by the Network is the sub-working group, which allows interested Network members to engage in in-depth discussions and interactions on specific thematic areas. The sub-working groups hold regular meetings on emerging issues and planned activities in the thematic area. Thematic sub-working groups may include as members 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.
There are IANYD thematic sub-working groups on the following thematic areas:
- Youth participation
- Youth participation in peacebuilding
- Social media
- Youth policy
- Inclusive youth volunteering
- UN System-wide Action Plan on Youth