The United Nations has long recognised that the imagination, ideals and energies of young people are vital for the continuing development of the societies in which they live. The Member States of the United Nations acknowledged this in 1965 when they endorsed the Declaration on the Promotion among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding between Peoples. Two decades later, the United Nations General Assembly observed 1985 as the International Youth Year: Participation, Development and Peace. It drew international attention to the important role young
people play in the world, and, in particular, their potential contribution to development.
In 1995, on the tenth anniversary of International Youth Year, the United Nations strengthened its commitment to young people by directing the international community’s response to the challenges to youth into the next millennium. It did this by adopting an international strategy—the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond.
The World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people. It contains proposals for action, aiming at fostering conditions
and mechanisms to promote improved well-being and livelihoods among young people.
The WPAY focuses in particular on measures to strengthen national capacities in the field of youth and to increase the quality and quantity of opportunities available to young people for full, effective and constructive participation in society.
In its original form, the World Programme of Action for Youth outlined 10 priority areas to be addressed; however, at the ten-year review of the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth, Member States agreed to the addition of five additional issue areas. These were expanded upon in a Supplement, which was adopted in 2007.
Together these 15 issue areas and their related plans of action are what is understood to comprise the World Programme of Action for Youth, which guides policy and action in the area of youth development. This publication was prepared in response to numerous requests by youth non-governmental organisations, youth policy practitioners and young
people for a ready reference to the WPAY, its 15 priority areas and their corresponding proposals for action. It also includes the means for implementation at the national, regional and international levels.
The text of the World Programme of Action for
Youth is presented in this publication as it appears in United Nations resolutions 50/81 of 13 March 1996, in its annex containing the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, and 62/126 of 5 February 2008, in its annex containing the Supplement to the WPAY (2007). World Programme of Action for Youth and the Guide to the Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth, as well as information on the work of the United Nations on youth issues, please visit the official website here: www.un.org/youth.