The Forum process is a fundamental part of UNESCO Youth Forum Programme. Since its introduction in 1999, it has provided an innovative, ongoing opportunity for youth to work in dialogue with UNESCO, to shape and direct the Organization’s approach and to present their concerns and ideas to Member States.
Young women and men come together at UNESCO Headquarters every two years, and bring their collective energy, creativity and vision to the table. Through debate and discussion, they draw up a list of recommendations for action, reflecting the most pressing needs and concerns of youth today in the fields of UNESCO’s work.
The Forum is institutionalized as a permanent and integral part of UNESCO’s highest decision-making body, the UNESCO General Conference, where its 195 Member States decide on UNESCO’s future actions.
Participants are representatives of their countries and communities. They are expected to consult with youths from their home societies before coming to the Forum, and to be ambassadors for the work of UNESCO on their return.
However, the Youth Forum starts long before and continues long after each event in Paris. Young women and men are fully engaged in the preparatory stages, and they not only decide on the topics to be discussed but are also fully part of the design and development of each Forum via online surveys and discussion groups. Additionally, each Youth Forum builds on participants’ evaluations of the previous one. Thus, the Youth Forum is wholly shaped by and for youth.