Agenda for Action for Adolescents
There are over 1.8 billion adolescents and youth (10-24 years old) living in the world today – the largest demographic of its kind in history. Their experiences, voices and needs are vital in shaping the world they will inherit. This is a proclamation of the priority actions for adolescent health and well-being, from adolescents and youth themselves.
Adolescents and youth need the resources and spaces to translate their confidence to autonomously determine and lead their lives, in line with their evolving capacities, without fear of harm, violence, or discrimination based on their identities and life choices. Adolescents and youth also deserve to benefit from feeling a sense of connectedness and belonging, while growing in a positive and nurturing environment.
To meaningfully engage with adolescents and youth, in all their diversity, especially in the current times of growing inequity and increasing vulnerabilities due to pandemics, climate crises, humanitarian, and conflict situations, and economic inequality, this Agenda for Action for Adolescents highlights 7 priorities for immediate action.
These actions have been determined by young people themselves. They have been distilled from expert analysis of more than 1.2 million responses from adolescents and youth aged 10-24 who participated in the “What Young People Want” survey, which gathered responses from over 90 countries, as well as testimonies shared during global online townhall meetings and consultation processes.
This Agenda defines a path forward for governments, in partnership with stakeholders from all sectors, to develop and implement policies and programs that deliver on these priorities. It advances the adolescent agenda within the current Sustainable Development Goals and sets the scene for the post-2030 global development agenda, co-developed with, and owned by adolescents and youth.
We, the 1,400+ partner organizations of PMNCH, including and co-led with adolescents and youth, call on governments, donors, development partners, and all stakeholders to protect and promote the well-being of adolescents and youth through strengthened domestic investment and policies, supported by international cooperation, to:
1. Providing universal primary, secondary, and tertiary education, and vocational training to ensure all adolescents and youth develop skills that align with modern labour market demands, protected by strengthened labour laws and policies to ensure decent jobs, meaningful career options and safe working environments.
2. Providing affordable, high-quality adolescent health and well-being services, especially to adolescent parents, through “one-stop shops”, digital platforms, and peer-led models that bring care closer to communities, including through primary health-care services, schools, and community-based services.
3. Ensuring mental well-being and resilience through provision of timely and flexible, access to affordable and quality evidence-based information, services, psychosocial support, and therapy, as well as destigmatizing mental health conditions
4. Reforming harmful and punitive laws and instituting affirmative and protective legal and policy mechanisms to facilitate access to education, health care, social networks, safe public spaces, including safe roads, and other well-being services, including protection from all forms of violence, discrimination, and harm offline and online, including sexual and gender-based violence, intimate partner violence and domestic violence. Ensure age of consent laws do not deprive access to essential SRH services and information, including HIV services, contraception, and safe abortion, while also protecting against child, early and forced marriage.
5. Strengthening and establishing social protection policies and mechanisms that meet the unique needs of adolescents and youth, through income protection programs, safety nets for vulnerable adolescents including cash transfers and food security.
6. Preventing stigma and discrimination against adolescents and youth in all their diversity, irrespective of identity and background, through legal protection, awareness building, provision of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in and out of school, and stakeholder sensitisation.
7. Strengthening agency of adolescents and youth through providing meaningful social and civic participation and allocating adequate resources to support youth and adolescent centred accountability mechanisms, to track the implementation of the Agenda for Action for Adolescents, utilising existing mechanisms at the national, regional, and global levels, such as the Voluntary National Review and Universal Periodic Review.
To realize the Agenda for Action for Adolescents, PMNCH commits to the following action plan during 2023-2025:
Facilitating meaningful engagement of adolescent and youth groups within national multi-stakeholder platforms, through policy dialogues ensuring decisions and national priorities are informed by their perspectives.
Promoting co-leadership with adolescents and youth to meaningfully engage and empower them, especially adolescent girls and other marginalised groups, to become leaders of today and tomorrow, and ensure that policies and programs are developed with equal participation and active leadership from them to inform all critical decisions around adolescent well-being.
Compiling evidence on adolescent and youth experiences and preferences to strengthen decision-making and accountability, based on high-quality data and research, co-created with adolescents, and disaggregated by age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability status, location, marital status, educational attainment, socio-economic status, employment status, among other parameters.
Promoting integrated, ‘all of government’ planning, across health, finance, security, gender, education, employment, food systems for optimum nutrition, and technology, to ensure more cohesive and comprehensive programming and policymaking by government departments, based on meaningful engagement of all stakeholders on the priorities above, including the private sector.
Supporting endorsement and dissemination of the Agenda for Action for Adolescents by all relevant advocacy communities, dedicated to education and skills-building, nutrition, social protection, and other domains required to promote adolescent well-being and health.
Mobilizing measurable commitments to the Agenda for Action for Adolescents from governments and all stakeholders