The world today is home to the largest generation of young people in history: 1.2 billion. The way in which the shifting demographics in the world are leveraged, and how young people navigate their transition to adulthood, are critical for the progress of humankind and the health of the planet

UN Youth2030 Strategy reminds us that actively listening to young people’s needs and engaging with them is a critical part of achieving sustainable peace, justice, and development for all. In light of this, the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) recognizes the urgency of building a solid base of theoretical knowledge and technical capacity to strengthen the skills of the UN system and its partners in implementing youth-responsive analyses, strategies and programming. Youth are in fact a prioritized thematic area within the Peace & Security Hub at UNSSC, and a youth-responsive approach is mainstreamed into all the Hub’s learning offerings.

In fact, UNSSC’s recent collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is a good example of building the capacity of staff members to effectively implement a mandated strategy. The UNFPA’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan and the UNFPA Global Strategy for Adolescents and Youth (2019)  puts adolescents (10-19 years old) and youth (15-24 years old) at the centre of UNFPA’s work, recognizing their right to make informed choices about their own bodies, their own lives and the world they live in. The strategy is structured around 3 main pillars:

  1. “My Body” – ensures access to integrated reproductive health and services and information for all adolescents and youth.
  2. “My Life” – addresses determinants of health and well-being of adolescents and youth, upholding rights and investing in the human capital
  3. “My World” – promotes the leadership of adolescents and youth and their fundamental right to participate in sustainable development, humanitarian action and in sustaining peace.

To further accelerate its implementation, UNFPA initiated a partnership with UNSSC to translate the above-mentioned UNFPA’s My Body, My Life, My World Operational Guidance (2022) into a tutored online programme that includes a self-paced component. The course was designed and developed in partnership with subject matter experts around the needs of youth, with the aim of targeting the specific learning gaps of regional and country office staff. Each module explains why a specific topic is important to UNFPA’s work and the well-being of adolescents and young people, and discusses effective approaches to plan and implement programmes, based on the global experiences of the agency and its partners.

This 10-weeks online course gives participants a high degree of flexibility to access the structured programme from anywhere, at any time, while interacting with their fellow participants. Each module is combined with interactive exercises, individual reflections and peer-to-peer virtual discussions in dedicated forums and peer resource exchanges.

In addition to the individual learning path online, participants will have the possibility to further expand the discussions in weekly live sessions online and meet with fellow participants as well as UNFPA subject matter experts and the UNSSC facilitation team. This virtual space will encourage participants to reflect together on the challenges and opportunities of their work on youth across different regions and countries and learn from each other.

Through the partnership with UNFPA, UNSSC demonstrates how learning can make a difference in the world. The college will continue to create first-rate tailor-made solutions for the UN system and partner entities