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Today, the Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) was launched in Bethlehem with the support of the European Union, Denmark and the United Nations. The YAP is a group of 18 young Palestinians from across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza with different backgrounds. They were selected by a committee which included members of the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority’s Higher Council for Youth and Sport based not only on their experience but because of their dedication to ensuring daily challenges of young Palestinians are considered by partners in the international community and Palestinian society. 


Sixty per cent of the Palestinian population is under the age of 24. Their civic participation, engagement in socio-political activities and leadership across local communities is needed to build a future generation which will enjoy sustainable humanitarian development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. One of the most pressing concerns is unemployment among Palestinian youth which stands at 41 per cent with the highest rate of 68.9 per cent among youth in Gaza. Furthermore, despite Palestine having one of the highest enrolment rates in the region for students in elementary education (99 per cent), enrolment rates for secondary education indicate that around 20 per cent of all students drop out before the age of 15, and around 22 percent of boys and 30 percent of girls with disability have never enrolled in school.


The members of the YAP will undergo training to promote their active engagement which will in turn allow them to express the needs, concerns and perspectives of youth more broadly. Through them, young people will have more opportunities to be part of decision-making processes, including those of the EU, UN and other member states, that will affect their futures and those of all Palestinians. 


Lynn Hastings, Deputy Special Coordinator, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, during the event highlighted “The Youth Advisory Panel is a great example of our efforts to ensure that Palestinian youth interests and views are meaningfully taken into consideration by key decision-makers”.


Ketil Karlsen, Denmark’s Representative, emphasized that “Palestinian youth deserves better. Having more opportunities and a greater voice. We believe that youth can be vital agents of change on important matters, like innovation, climate change, and politics in general. Denmark is working with youth and for youth as part of its long-term strategy in Palestine. We are proud to support the Youth Advisory Panel and look forward to working closely with all the members.”


“Congratulations to our partners and the young people for the official launch of the Youth Advisory Board (YAP) in Palestine. This is quite an achievement, particularly in a young society where youth under 29 comprise 30% of the population. We are confident that this board will make their voices heard, representing Palestinian young people across the occupied Palestinian territories, and will definitely work their way to be part of the decision-making process. Since the beginning of this year, the EU has been advocating 2022 as the European year of youth. This is celebrated across the world, and with our closest neighbours also here in Palestine. We continue to be deeply committed to working together with our international and local Palestinian partners to contribute to youth empowerment in all sectors,” said the EU Deputy Representative Maria Velasco.