A Global Review: UNHCR’s Engagement with Displaced Youth

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Executive Summary

UNHCR aims to be a fully age, gender and diversity inclusive organisation within the next four years. Yet the 2011 global analysis of UNHCR’s accountability frameworks for Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) revealed that only 14% of its managers worldwide reported full achievement of targeted actions for adolescents. This stands as one of the top four gaps in implementing the AGD policy.

This review explores UNHCR’s engagement with displaced youth, refugees and IDPs, by analysing the agency’s mandate in relation to youth through its policies, guidelines and strategies, institutional infrastructure, approaches to identifying and responding to the needs of displaced youth, current funding, programmes and monitoring and evaluation processes. As general guidance this review uses the UN definition of youth, that is, the age group of 15-24 years; yet it recognises ‘youth’ as a social construct reflecting local understandings.

As age-disaggregated data is not currently collected for young people in the age group of 15-24 years, this report draws heavily on primary data collected as part of this review. The methodology includes a survey of selected UNHCR staff, interviews with field-based staff and implementing partners, and focus group discussions with youth in different displacement settings giving fascinating insight into current views, perceptions, programmes and operations from UNHCR itself as well as young displaced people.