UNFPA Framework for Action on Adolescents and Youth articulates a corporate strategy for working with Governments and partners in promoting the comprehensive development of young people worldwide. At a time when the global community is increasingly focused on poverty reduction and broader national development goals, the Framework outlines UNFPA policy and programme priorities on young people and its contributions with others to the National Development Plans, fostering young people's empowerment and participation.
In Syria, young people aged 10-24 represent 36.3 percent of the total population and youth aged 15-24 constitute 22.2 percent. This proportion of young people suggests the need for development initiatives that are specially focused on the young. Investing in young people to develop their full potential will reap long-term dividends and contribute to the sustainable development of the country. As a
result, the 10th National Development Plan (NDP) for 2006-2010, with the support of UNFPA, places increased emphasis on young people’s development, participation in development and empowerment.
To this end, UNFPA has been supporting the Syrian Commission for Family Affaires (SCFA) in taking the steps to articulate a National Strategy for Young People, the objectives of which will be realized within the overall national development framework. This support was translated in launching the research that will provide adequate and reliable quantitative and qualitative data for assessing the needs and concerns of this age group, mainly in respect of their empowerment and participation in development, focusing on the areas of societal participation, education, living conditions, health and gender. The findings of this research will be disseminated soon and will feed into the developing and evidence-based National Strategy for Young People.
UNFPA is supporting national counterparts in promoting young people's well-being and healthy lifestyles, through supporting Youth centers (Youth Development units) and Adolescent Health Centers in the three programme governorates, to provide a comprehensive, life skills-based education. UNFPA support is focusing on working on building the national capacity for delivering quality youth friendly education, information and counseling services, adapted to local and cultural context, and enriching libraries with essential literature on youth development, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, supporting outreach activities and provision of EDP equipment in these centers
Moreover, these efforts are complemented through supporting the establishment of an effective national peer education network; through expanding the partnership with and building capacity of youth organizations and NGOs active in this field; which will be further supported with peer education training materials adapted to local/social context, and using behaviour change communication (BCC) interventions, based on multi-level and multi-media communication efforts that encourage positive and healthy lifestyles and good social norms among young people. The support will also empower young people to actively participate in creating innovative entertaining and ways to reach their peers with information and educational messages such as Theatre-Based Education and outreach activities and awareness raising campaigns.