Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Board Chair of Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), Rt. Hon. Helen Clark has called on the need for more data to drive commitments and indicators on adolescent well-being to track progress.
Helen who noted this at the just concluded virtual Global Forum, which held on 11th-12th October 2023, organized by PMNCH, said all young people everywhere must have a fair chance to contribute to their own countries and to the world and, above all, to pursue their dreams.
The Forum was one of world’s largest online meeting of adolescents and young people, the Global Forum for Adolescents, with a sweeping set of new commitments from governments and other stakeholders.
The Forum also closed with the launch of the “Agenda for Action for Adolescents”, based on the opinions of 1.2 million young people ages 16-24, collected in more than 80 countries through the What Young People Want (WYPW) initiative, the world’s largest survey of young people.
Also, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, co-lead of the drafting team for the Agenda for Action for Adolescents, and a member of the PMNCH Adolescent and Youth Constituency, Sahil Tandon said Adolescents and young people have specific health and well-being challenges .
According to him, in less than 1.6% of development assistance for health was dedicated to adolescent health between 2003 and 2015, even though there are 1.8 billion people between 10 and 24 in the world today.
He further said the Agenda for Action is intended to galvanize attention to where it is needed most, and to align all partners in addressing these needs.
It would recalled that the World Health Organization recounts more than 1.5 million adolescents and youth died in 2021, averaging 4,500 deaths every day from preventable causes.
During the Global Forum, 17 governments and two regional bodies highlighted their responses, announcing specific policy and financial commitments.
The majority of commitments came from African governments, with nine countries (Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo and South Africa) setting out plans and investments focused on young people, including specific new financial commitments from Malawi and Liberia.
Other governments and regional bodies pledging to improve adolescent health and well-being include Canada, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Portugal, Serbia, Sint Maarten, and the United States, as well as the African Union and the European Commission.
Also, a youth activist from Nigeria, Alims Blessing Iripa, 22, said listening to young people helps governments to learn from our experiences and identify new ways to help us
“Investing in young people’s health and well-being today will pay off in the future,” she said.
The Global Forum for Adolescents attracted more than 8,000 registrants over two days. Participants, including policymakers and young people, shared evidence, lived experience, and proven examples of effective policy and programming solutions.
Forum sessions covered the full spectrum of challenges and opportunities experienced by young people growing up in today’s world, including the need for greater attention to adolescent well-being in schools, combating violence to foster safe spaces, and creating safety for digital natives.
The Forum also saw the launch of advocacy tools, research products, innovation materials and key data to support advocacy for greater investment and commitment.