by Alexandra Hervish, international education specialist
This post was originally published by Half the World, the blog of the Interagency Youth Working Group (IYWG).
In January, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the United Nations Foundation (UNF) hosted a discussion about milestones in adolescent and youth health and development. All of the presenters emphasized the need for a holistic approach to the health and development of young people—one that enables them to delay marriage and childbearing, access youth-friendly health services, prevent the onset of mental disorders and noncommunicable diseases, and thrive in a supportive environment. Amanda Keifer of the Public Health Institute highlighted that with the creation of the Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, the global community is moving in the right direction by putting young people’s rights at the heart of development.
However, a participant raised an interesting point during the event: if we have compelling arguments about the importance of investing in adolescents and youth, why can’t we translate this information into tangible financial and political commitments? In my opinion, there are two distinct, yet interrelated answers to this question:
- We just do not have enough data. Upon opening the 8-page “centerfold” from the Lancet series on adolescents, one would immediately notice the abundance of dashes in lieu of data points for many countries around the world (particularly low- and middle-income countries). In fact, we only just recently calculated how many adolescents die every year. Contrary to what many would assume (after all, adolescence is considered the healthiest time of a person’s life), the figure is rather high: in 2004, 2.6 million people ages 10-24 died, with deaths increasing from adolescence into young adulthood.
Read the rest of this post at Half the World.