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Adolescents & Young People in Emergency & Transition Situations Cecile Mazzacurati UNFPA, Humanitarian Response Branch 21 February 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Adolescents & Young People in Emergency & Transition Situations Cecile Mazzacurati UNFPA, Humanitarian Response Branch 21 February 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Adolescents & Young People in Emergency & Transition Situations Cecile Mazzacurati UNFPA, Humanitarian Response Branch 21 February 2012

2 Who are adolescents & young people? A transition phase between childhoold and adulthood – but perceptions and definitions vary depending on local realities, culture and beliefs. UN definitions Children: under 18 Adolescents: 10 to 19 Youth: 15 to 24 Young people: 10 to 24

3 Who are adolescents & young people? o Younger (10-14) / older (15-19) adolescents o Girls/boys, young women/young men o "Youth programming" not always attentive to these differences – tendency to address « youth » as a homogeneous group o Targeted strategies required to reach out to sub-groups Younger adolescent girls, for instance, have been systematically neglected in programming; international efforts to prioritize them in recent years Not a homogenous group!

4 Why prioritize adolescents and young people during emergencies? “Demographic imperative”: o Today we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known o Children and adolescents (‹18) represent appr. 47% of UNHCR’s “persons of concern” (11% of these < 5 yrs)* Sierra Leone: 63% of the population < 25 yrs old (2002) Northern Uganda: 65% of Sudanese refugees < 25 yrs old (2005) * UNHCR statistical yearbook 2010

5 Why prioritize adolescents and young people during emergencies? Increased vulnerabilities due to: o Breakdown of social and cultural systems o Exposure to violence and chaos o Personal traumas such as the loss of family members, loss of protection mechanisms o Disruption of school and friendships o Absence of role models

6 Adolescents are more vulnerable to SRH threats during emergencies o Lack of basic information on sexual and reproductive health o Disruption of health services, or impossibility of access o Early sexual initiation o Early and unwanted pregnancies, leading to unsafe abortion or teen parenthood o Higher risk of contracting STIs and HIV o Gender-based violence, including family violence o Accrued risks of sexual violence (rape, sex slaves, bush wives, survival sex) o Recrudescence or apparition of harmful practices (trafficking, early marriage, FGM…) o Substance abuse and boredom

7 Why prioritize adolescents and young people during emergencies? Tremendous capacities & resilience: o Energy, dynamism o Idealism o Willingness to support the recovery of their communities = a valuable resource for their own community, and for the humanitarian community

8 Challenges Data Lack of sex- and age-disaggregated data (SADD) collection and analysis Lack of global agreement on age categories that should be used to gather SADD Prioritization « Age » is recognized by the IASC as a cross-cutting issue, but low priority is given to it: age is not systematically addressed by Flash/CAP no age-focus in CERF live-saving criteria Lack of funding

9 Challenges Coordination No formal coordination platform to support the adoption of an "age lense" through cluster approach Technical Lack of knowledge and operational guidance on "how to" integrate adolescents/youth/age in cluster work Lack of methodology to support "youth participation"

10 Challenges Existing experience in youth programming in the field: Health: general health, reproductive health, mental health Education: formal, non-formal, informal Employment & livelihoods But often siloed -- what has been demonstrated to work is: Multi-sectoral approaches, looking at young people’s needs more holistically Life-cycle lens, looking at evolving capabilities and needs through the life-cycle Inter-generational approaches – working with parents, caregivers, community members

11 Opportunities: foundations in place for acting for adolescents & young people o Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) o Machel Study (1996) o ICPD (1994) o Security Council Resolution 1325 o Security Council Resolution 1612

12 Opportunities: some guidance exists Advocacy tools: Will You Listen? Young Voices from Conflict Zones (Report) YOUTH ZONES – Voices from emergencies (Advocacy video, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Toolkit for Humanitarian Settings ( for RH managers and humanitarian prog managers ) Y-PEER manual on peer education on SRH in emergencies

13 Opportunities: there is momentum Youth are one of the Secretary General’s key priorities for his second term Growing recognition that adolescents and young people need much stronger attention in emergency, transition, recovery and peacebuilding

14 What can be done immediately? Advocate for needs of specific groups (adolescent girls, older women, etc.) Support clusters in looking at varying needs through life-cycle and targeting their activities as a consequence Ensure appeal narratives and projects take various age groups into consideration

15 What is needed longer term? Expand the Gender Marker so it includes a stronger focus on age Develop technical guidance for clusters on age and gender Form a coordination platform to carry this work forward Integrating age into gender work will make gender mainstreaming more effective!

16 Thank you!


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