You are here

Tunis, 22 August 2019 – Today, UNFPA, the United Nations agency for sexual and reproductive health, announced the closing ceremony of the second edition of the Youth Forum in the Arab Region in Tunisia. The closing ceremony was attended by more than 250 participants representing youth, influencers, policy and decision makers, civil society, academia, United Nations agencies and other international partners, private sector, and actors engaged in youth issues and Ministers of Youth.

Dr. Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA's Regional Director the Arab States, and
Dr. Sonia Ben Cheikh, the Tunisian Minister of Youth and Sports in one
of the forum's sessions. © UNFPA ASRO​​​

The final event ceremony included a presentation of four flagship regional projects designed and presented by youth participants as follows:

  1. A regional youth platform: a youth-led digital platform that brings youth together to join efforts and find opportunities that strengthen the development of the youth in the Arab region.
  2. A Youth Charter: a reference document for youth programs, policies and strategies in the Arab Region.
  3. A a digital information tool for youth friendly programmes and services.
  4. Knowledge and Innovation Centres: empowerment spaces for youth to accelerate achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through needs assessments, capacity building, responsive innovation, project implementation, and building enabling environments. 

Dr. Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA Director for the Arab States Region,  led a special session on the International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD), where he traced the major changes in the Arab world and how the programme of action of the ICPD enshrined individual reproductive rights as a basic human right.  The presentation followed a debate on What Has Changed since the ICPD in the Arab region attended by legal and development experts in the field and two youth representatives.


During the closing ceremony, Dr. Shabaneh thanked all partners, including the government of Tunisia, the League of Arab States, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace (GCTP) and others for their active engagement in promoting youth empowerment and rights.

“The youth forum concluded today but the work starts with the four flagship projects presented. We are honoured and extremely proud of the youth and the quality of the projects and the concrete steps presented in each project to advance a regional youth agenda. The major success of this forum has been our record of translating ideas into practical products to serve youth in the Arab region,” Dr. Shabaneh said. He stressed the importance of investing on youth not only as subjects, but as change makers and agents of human development in the Arab region.

Founded in 2018 in Morocco, the forum provides an impartial space for dialogue with the aim of setting and advancing the youth agenda in the Arab region.  

“Knowledge at the service of Youth in the Arab States” is the theme of this year’s forum. Throughout the three-day event which took place between 20 and 22 August, 2019, more than 200 young women and men from 20 Arab countries participated in workshops to discuss their needs and priorities in terms of knowledge.

Learn about the young champions of knowledge who participated in the forum, and about their achievements and aspirations here