Youth 2020:

Global Solidarity, Sustainable Development and Human Rights

The work of the Samarkand Forum on Human Rights is aimed towards identifying the main ways to implement and improve work within the field of ensuring the rights of youth.



Objective: to discuss existing international legal instruments and mechanisms in the field of youth rights in the world, as well as the main provisions of the draft International Convention on the Rights of Youth.

There are still no international documents in the world that would enshrine the rights of young people. Young people enjoy universal human rights and do not seem to need special rights. However, the modern view of many problems faced mainly by young people makes it necessary to pay special attention to this segment of the population. Such problems include exposure to extremist beliefs, discrimination on various grounds, unemployment, limited access to active participation in the political life of the country, and others.

At the 39th session of the UN General Assembly, problems in the field of ensuring the rights of young people were voiced, as well as recommendations for activities to increase access to the rights of youth representatives. 


The United Nations has long recognized that the creativity, ideals and energy of young people are vital for the further development of the societies in which they live. Member States of the United Nations recognized this in 1965, when they endorsed the Declaration on the Promotion among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding between Peoples.

Two decades later, the United Nations General Assembly observed the ‘International Youth Year: Participation, Development and Peace’. It drew attention to the important role young people play in the world, and to their potential contribution to development.

In 1995, on the 10th anniversary of the International Youth Year, the United Nations strengthened its commitment to youth. It adopted an international strategy, the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, which attracted the attention of the international community and directed its efforts to addressing the challenges that young people would face in the new millennium.

In December 1999, the General Assembly, in its resolution 54/120, approved the recommendation of the World Conference of Ministers for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) to declare 12 August as being International Youth Day. Every year International Youth Day, dedicated to a new annual topic, assists in drawing the international community's attention to youth issues and celebrating the potential of youth as a partner in today's global society.

In December 2009, marking the 25th anniversary of the first International Youth Year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution 64/134 which proclaimed the year beginning 12 August 2010 as the new International Youth Year. The Assembly called on governments, civil society, individuals and communities around the world to support the year's commemorations at local and international levels.



Part II: Youth Rights and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Objective: to discuss the role of youth in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, as well as to identify key issues in the implementation of youth rights

The 2030 Agenda identifies youth as agents of change, recognizing that the Sustainable Development Goals are integrated, indivisible and global in nature, and therefore that all of the Goals apply to youth. Youth are also the main beneficiaries of the Agenda, as national success or failure in implementing the Goals will have the greatest future impact on today’s young people. Commitments vis-à-vis youth have also been adopted in a number of frameworks, including the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action, adopted at the World Humanitarian Summit, held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2016.


By 2030, being the target date for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are on the 2030 Agenda, the number of young people in the world is projected to increase by 7 percent. Because young people are more likely to require more just, equitable and innovative opportunities and solutions in their societies, the need to address the multifaceted challenges faced by young people (such as access to education, health, employment and gender equality) is becoming ever more acute.

Youth can become a positive force for development if they are given the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive. In particular, young people should receive the education and skills necessary to contribute to the development of a productive economy, and they need access to a labour market that can take them into the labour force.

The main principle of the 2030 Agenda is the commitment that "no one will be forgotten". The Sustainable Development Goals are intended for all countries, all peoples of all ages, and all societies. The universal nature of the 2030 Agenda implies that the interests of young people should be taken into account in all goals and targets. At the same time, youth issues are specifically mentioned in the following four areas: youth employment, adolescent girls, education and sport for peace. In addition, it was recognized that young people are agents of change and are entrusted with the task of unlocking their own potential and building a world fit for future generations.

The well-being, participation and empowerment of young people are key factors for sustainable development and world peace. Achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda requires strong and inclusive partnerships between youth and all stakeholders in order to address the development challenges youth face (such as unemployment, political exclusion, marginalization, access to education and health, and others), and to recognize the positive role of youth as a partner in promoting development and maintaining peace.

While all Sustainable Development Goals are crucial for youth development, the latest edition of the World Youth Report has indicated that their achievements in education and employment are fundamental to the overall development of youth.



Objective: to analyze international experience on Human Rights Education for youth, as well as to develop recommendations for improving the level of literacy of young people on human rights issues.


Education is one of the fundamental rights of youth throughout the world. Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls for inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all. To achieve this, concerted efforts are needed to ensure that young women and men have access to free, fair and quality education, as well as training opportunities tailored to their needs.

The Human Rights Council, in its resolution 39/3 (27 September 2018), decided to make youth the focus group of the fourth phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, with special emphasis placed on education and training in equality, human rights and non-discrimination, and inclusion and respect for diversity with the aim of building inclusive and peaceful societies, and to align the fourth phase with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and specifically with target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, taking into account the synergy between the various concepts and teaching methods mentioned therein.

In addition, it is recommended that states develop comprehensive and Sustainable National Action Plans for Human Rights Education and Training, allocating resources specifically for these purposes.

In December 2011, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. This Declaration is disruptive in nature, as it is the first document specifically dedicated to HRE. Therefore it is a valuable tool for promoting and disseminating information on the importance of HRE. The Declaration states that “Everyone has the right to know, seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms and should have access to human rights education and training” and that “Human rights education and training is essential for the promotion of universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the principles of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights”. The Declaration also contains a broad definition of HRE, which includes human rights education, through these rights and in support of these rights. The Declaration gives states primary responsibility to “promote and ensure human rights education and training” (Article 7).

In paragraph 20 of the Samarkand Declaration, it is noted that “the youth is identified as the target group for the fourth stage of the UN World Programme for Human Rights Education, to cooperate with educational institutions, civil society institutions, youth organizations in the field of education and training on equality, human rights and non-discrimination…”.



Objective: Highlighting the role of youth in strengthening comprehensive approach to security and cooperation


Youth play an important role in securing co-operation and peace and allowing their voices to be heard is crucial for the future of tomorrow. The effective participation of young people and mainstreaming gender equality in peace and security discussions and conflict prevention is of outmost importance for future progress. This session will both look at what is being done in the international field in promoting youth in peace and security as well as listen to the voices of young people working with this in both international organizations and on local level.

The United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2250 (2015)[1] and 2419 (2018)[2] on youth, peace and security were the first resolutions to internationally recognize the positive role youth can play in securing peace and stability. Following the UNSCR 2250 the UN developed the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, speaking to 4,230 young people from 153 countries.[3] In July 2020, the UN Security Council Underlined the Vital Role of Youth in Building Peace by Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2535 (2020)[4].  Further, the role and impact of youth for the success of the peace and security agenda is crucial for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has a comprehensive approach to security, from “hard”  security issues such as conflict prevention to fostering economic development, ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources, and promoting the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The OSCE recognizes the role of youth in the comprehensive approach and the organization has been dedicated to increasing the participation of youth through its the implementation of the Youth and Security (YPS) agenda, including the Milan 2018 Ministerial Council Declaration on the Role of Youth[5] in Contribution to Peace and Security Efforts on youth in the maintenance of international peace and security. In 2019, the OSCE Perspectives 20-30 initiative was launched with the aim to provide a platform to young women and men to discuss with decision-makers their vision for how a safer future in the OSCE area could look by 2030 and beyond. This vision has been outlined in the OSCE Perspectives 2030 Core Group of Experts Discussion Paper.[6] 

The inclusion of youth in peace and security needs to also be done at local, national and international level. For young people to play a substantial role, the sharing of insight and experience from different countries, organizations is crucial. Further, there is a need for senior colleagues, key actors and politicians to champion and support youth in these capacities. The fourth session of the Samarkand Forum on Human Rights strives to encompass the wide range of actors in this field for a discussion and shared best practices.

The objective of this session is to look into good practices and identify further recommendations to continue supporting the inclusion of youth perspectives in peace and security debates, especially in the context of Central Asia and Uzbekistan