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Young staff, the greatest asset for transforming


Picture: Young UNESCO during the General Conference in November 2019.

Young people are the today’s world greatest assets and a major driving force for a more sustainable future. Their strong motivation, energy and creativity should not be wasted, and this is why UNESCO is committed to hear and channel these for a more agile, efficient and creative UNESCO.

Engagement with youth remains a very high priority for the Organization and of strategic importance to its reflection process towards the next Medium-Term Strategy. This became clear already in the introductory meeting more than a year ago when a group of young colleagues met with Xing Qu, Deputy Director-General.

“I would like to know what kind of UNESCO you would like to see in 2030, and how can you contribute to the transformation of the organization?” asked Xing Qu.

This engagement in dialogue has continued throughout the Strategic Transformation process and the youth voices and experiences are heard. A series of constructive dialogues with senior management followed by further integration of Young UNESCO members for the work on operational efficiency, communication, strategic partnerships and field reform.

“It was very important for Young UNESCO to be present in the working groups discussing the future of UNESCO’s presence in the world, and a privilege to participate from the field as young staff”, says Juan-Pablo Ramirez Miranda, from New Delhi Cluster office.

 “The results of the Strategic Transformation will have a lasting impact, and young colleagues will be those developing a career and supporting UNESCO’s mandate in the future,” he explains.

Young UNESCO's propositions have contributed to strengthening team building, knowledge sharing and well-being of staff, UNESCO’s digital transformation, improving the way UNESCO's communicates, make UNESCO more environmentally friendly and optimize UNESCO’s field network. Moreover, Young UNESCO has also proposed the reform of the current internship policy, which is currently being evaluated with a view of improving geographical diversity.

“What I really liked about being part of the Working Group on operational efficiency is that it gave us the opportunity to directly present our ideas to senior management – and to really be listened to”, says Miriam Tereick, from Headquarters.

UNESCO has also launched an unprecedented global conversation with the Public, UNESCO’s staff, High-Level Reflection Group and Young UNESCO. This is a major effort led by the Strategic Transformation Support Unit. This process is complementary and contributing to the formal consultation process with Member States, their National Commissions and other key stakeholders, organized by Bureau of Strategic Planning. The Member States will adopt a new Medium-Term Strategy for 2022-2029 and Young UNESCO has been invited to contribute to this end.

Affiliated with Young UN network, Young UNESCO acts as a community channel for young staff, advocating for their representation in internal decision-making processes, providing career development guidance and sharing knowledge amongst youth staff. It also functions as innovation hub within UNESCO fostering the development and implementation of new ideas and initiatives with the management.