Support to Developing the National Youth Strategy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
What is the project about
In its long term strategic perspective on development, the Government of Saudi Arabia recognizes the role of youth in human sustainable development, and expressed the government’s commitment to invest in youth by mobilising their capacities and resources for developing strategies that will enhance the role of youth in the national development process.
The age structure of Saudi Arabian population is young. The percentage of population below the age of 15 constituted 37% of total population of 27.14mil in 2010. Nearly one out of five Saudis (21%) is in the 15-24 age group, pointing to the primacy of youth in the development of Saudi Arabia. This situation poses dramatic challenges for Saudi Arabian Government and civil society in meeting the education, training, employment, health, and recreation needs of the youth.
Within the above context, youth societal concerns are wider and more pervasive than those merely relating to population size. The concerns are multi sectoral, engaging both economic and social dimensions. While great achievements are registered in the field of education, issues relating to quality of education and relevance to market needs remain paramount. The lack of sufficient recreational opportunities and facilities for youth, and the need to improve their quality are clearly an evident priority. The issues of reducing unemployment of educated youth, and the low female participation rates in the labour market, are major socio economic challenges. All these tasks have to be taken if we to integrate and enhance youth development.
In January 2010, Ministry of Economy and Planning (MOEP), on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed an agreement to develop the Saudi National Youth Strategy. As a respond to national priorities identified, the strategy highlighted many priorities that remain on top of the national agendas. Sustainable growth and job creation are among the national priorities, as the creation of a market for knowledge- based jobs for educated young job seekers.
What have we accomplished so far
The National Youth Strategy has been recently endorsed by the Shura Council, opening the door for the actual implementation. Nevertheless, implementation of any national strategy depends largely on the capacity of government institutions and on coordination among ministries and other parties concerned. Thus, translating strategies into action plans require skills and competencies which may need to be addressed in relation to the National Youth Strategy in order to enhance national organizational capacities to implement it and to mainstream the strategy and action plan across various related entities.
The current phase of the project entails performing a full review and assessment of the National Youth Strategy and developing a comprehensive action plan focusing on capacity building across different national institutions with programs and activities. The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive action plan including programmes and actions for implementation that will directly impact the mainstreaming and efficient involvement and participation of youth in the national development processes.
The project foresees to achieve its objectives through the following strategic directions:
Output 1: Final revised National Youth Strategy document developed in line with Shura Council comments; this output will focus on reviewing, updating, and improving the National Youth Strategy document in line with the Shura Council youth and family committee’s notes and comments, resulting in the production of a more developed strategy document.
Output 2: A comprehensive action plan produced, including programs and activities developed in line with the revised strategy document; This output will focus on conduction a series of workshops, as well as enhancing the managerial, technical and organizational capacities of senior officials, and beneficiaries for better understanding of the strategy analysis, resulting in the production of a comprehensive action plan, including programs and activities developed in line with the revised strategy document.
Output 3: Capacities of stakeholders (including youth) developed to enable them to interact, manage, coordinate, and implement various components of the action plan; This output foresees capacity building as an essential instrument to a successful implementation of the National Youth Strategy action plan, it will focus on enhancing the managerial, technical and organizational capacities of officials, and beneficiaries to manage, direct and coordinate the activities, particularly those relating to youth development, in an effective and efficient manner.
Output 4: Monitoring and evaluation of NYS implementation enhanced; This output will focus on establishing all the necessary tools that will ensure the efficient monitoring and evaluation of the national youth strategy’s activities implementation process, recoding lessons learned, resulting in a full monitoring and evaluation plan.