18. Country Level Indicators (Commonwealth/UN)
Lack of age-aggregated data and specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound objectives is a global problem affecting the vast majority of youth plans and programmes.
The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment 2007-2015 (PAYE) and the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) are framework documents that provide ways forward. The PAYE underpins the work of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP), and is offered as a model strategic plan for ministries of youth, but also calls for mainstreaming across departments. CYP and a number of UN system agencies are collaborating on next steps.
- There is a lack of systematic country-level indicators for youth. The PAYE contains rudimentary universal indicators (integrated with the millennium development goals) and is intended to complement M&E frameworks developed at national and regional levels.
- Governments were initially cautious about measuring progress in youth development.
- To formulate, test and review different approaches to youth development;
- To define broad, inclusive indicators for monitoring and measuring youth development in the economic, social and political spheres. A number of Commonwealth youth ministers called for a youth development indicators tool for:
- Setting targets and measuring progress (including progress on the PAYE);
- Sharpening advocacy for youth development;58
- Assisting youth mainstreaming within each country, and decision making about allocating scarce resources.
Youth as beneficiaries
Youth development indicators are intended to impact governance, the economy and service delivery in all sectors. Indicators will focus on three key areas: political empowerment, social empowerment and economic empowerment.
Youth as partners
Youth development indicators are intended to employ participatory as well as statistical approaches. Young people are members of the technical advisory committee and will be part of the expert panel.
- The Commonwealth youth ministers meeting in 2008 endorsed the concept.
- UNWPAY goals and targets were proposed in October 2008.
- By February 2009, a number of organisations had revisited and reaffirmed their commitment.
- High-level discussions on youth development indicators were part of the 47th UN Commission on Social Development.
- CYP, ILO, UNDESA, UN Dept Statistics and UN Latin America made recommendations on next steps.
- It is anticipated that by 2012, four Commonwealth countries will have piloted revised indicators.
Development of the indicators is at an early stage, however:
- PAYE has been endorsed by all 53 Commonwealth countries. There have been public launches in a number of countries including Anguilla, Guyana, Barbados, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Vanuatu and Cook Islands.
- CYP has used PAYE as the basis of national youth policy development (a majority of Commonwealth countries) and subsequent action planning. Youth has also been mainstreamed into the M&E framework for all Commonwealth Secretariat technical assistance.
- WPAY has guided national youth policies (most recently Cambodia’s) and regional initiatives such as the African Youth Charter and the Ibero-American Youth Convention.
- Successes in national youth policy formulation, including participatory processes, have often been followed by failures not only in M&E.
- M&E at national level should be combined with efforts to mainstream youth, as stand-alone ministries lack power and resources.
- Malaysia and Brazil (with UNESCO support) have developed national level M&E frameworks.
- Cultural differences in defining youth demographic, and focus and prioritisation of indicators.
- Gaps in technical understanding and guiding philosophy (paradigms) as well as resources.
For further information contact:
Commonwealth Youth Programme,
- 58. The Human Development Index has been a foundational basis for PAYE, however a simple international ranking index is not the objective of the Commonwealth Youth Development Indicators.