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INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

ON YOUTH POLICY AND RESEARCH


VIENNA, 23-25 September 2009

Ms. Golda EL-KHOURY (Lebanon)


Chief, Section for Youth,Sport and Physical Education
Division for Social Science Research and Policy
Social and Human Sciences Sector
UNESCO

Title:
Building evidence-based and cross-sectoral National Youth Policies: UNESCO’s
strategic action and response

ABSTRACT:

The effort to develop and effectively implement evidence-based cross-sectoral


youth related policies is not a simple task: it entails a cycle of actions, a series of
parameters that cannot be objectively measured and significant challenges
throughout the different stages of the process. Such policies require an effective
and sustainable coordination of the actions of the different Sectoral Ministries by
a Youth Ministry or Department established at the highest level. Moreover, they
presuppose the integration of the National Youth Policy in the National
Development plans with respective budgetary allocation and engagement of the
Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning. Finally, the challenges relating to
the pertinence and the use of the evidence/knowledge available for the
development and monitoring of such policies are also significant.

However, the effort to develop and implement such policies is by itself a step
forward and opens up a series of opportunities for all stakeholders involved,
individually and collectively: each sectoral Ministry is empowered to better
address youth concerns related to its fields of competence and the Youth Ministry
is more effective in monitoring progress against the evidence-based priorities and
indicators set in the national development plan. Moreover, the necessity of
linking policy development to scientific knowledge in order to achieve
development objectives is interrelated with a double-faceted principle: (i) on the
one hand, the knowledge appropriate for accountable and effective policies is
necessarily co-produced by governments, academics, the civil society and youth
and that (ii) on the other hand, in so far policies lack participation and
democratic scrutiny they fail to take account of crucial information about the
perspectives, views and values of the people to whom they apply and whose active
involvement is necessary to make them work. The participation of young people
all throughout the process is key to the success in creating an enabling policy
environment for youth development and empowerment.

Therefore, how do we best develop such policies? How do we effectively


coordinate contributions and actions of different sectoral Ministries and manage
the relevant budget allocations? How do we ensure the effective and sustained
participation of youth throughout the process? Finally, how can we effectively
link research to policy development and how can we monitor the impact of such
policies in relation to the evidence that served as the basis for their formulation.

The current presentation will seek to provide a preliminary response to those


questions by providing a global outlook of the process for the development of
cross-sectoral and evidence-based policies. It will introduce the different stages of
and considerations related to their formulation and implementation, stressing on
the modalities for an effective cross-sectoral coordination and financing as well
as on mechanisms enabling to translate evidence into policy provisions. It will
also highlight UNESCO’s work in this field, particularly under the draft Global
Strategy on Youth, currently developed by the UNESCO Social and Human
Sciences Sector.