2020 is a remarkable year in many ways. Unforeseen changes have happened in our societies due to spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, changing the ways we are working together and socializing. Staying at home and social distancing have become part of our everyday life.

We believe that young people can be in the forefront in responding to pandemics and supporting their communities and societies recover from them. Many are already active as health workers and community leaders, whereas others are developing innovative solutions to support vulnerable populations or building low-cost health devices such as face masks.

However, in the middle of the immediate response, we need to keep the long-term development challenges in mind. The COVID-19 pandemic affects our ability achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in 2020, we have only one decade left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

In this context, the Youth Leadership Programme enters its sixth year with the title ‘Decade of Action’’. The sixth year will bring together youth, alumni, youth-serving organizations and partners to support the youth in the Arab region to become change-makers, leaders and drivers of sustainable development and social change. More than 20,000 youth have participated in YLP since 2015, and many more will join this year.

Young people are at the forefront of tackling the most difficult challenges of our time, including the current pandemic and climate change. However, without civic and political engagement, youth are not able to fully contribute to development and the future of the Arab region and their countries. Thus, YLP6 will focus on these three main themes: pandemics, SDG16 and Climate Action.

The goals for YLP6 in 2020 are:

- Strengthening capacities of youth participants in key areas: political and civic engagement, climate action, and pandemics in the COVID-19 context

- Increasing awareness and action on climate change and the environmental impact of social innovations

- Expanding essential skills training that supports youth’s leadership and engagement skills, such as communication, self-organization, self-awareness and emotional intelligence

- Consolidating and expanding YLP network of youth-serving partner organizations to strengthen the ecosystem of youth-led innovation for development in the Arab region

Launching YLP6: working virtually

Given the needed health measures and travel restrictions, instead of launching the YLP6 in a workshop, the work started virtually. During March-April, the YLP team organized a 3-week series of webinars tackling the key themes and issues in YLP6.

The webinars gathered our partners, the youth-serving organizations from across the Arab region, in virtual meetings and workshops. These partners will design and implement national activities to support and empower youth to create innovative, impactful and sustainable development solutions.

The goals for the webinar series were:

- Bringing together selected youth-serving organizations to familiarize them with the vision, methodology, and the 2020 aims of YLP

- Facilitating networking and knowledge exchange among participants to build their understanding best practices of various YLP approaches

- Discussing the challenges and opportunities related to youth engagement in political, civic and policy spheres

- Providing learning in gender mainstreaming, climate change and environment awareness, social innovation, and essential skills to support leadership capabilities

- Exploring virtual working possibilities

- Enhancing knowledge around COVID-19 and work with youth in the context

- Finalizing National Action Plans (NAPs) with partner organizations

Follow the hashtag #YLP6 and #IamYLP to know more about the updates and news. 

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