Six Problems with the World Programme of Action for Youth: How WPAY Fails Young People

By Amanda Pawloski | July 21, 2011

The World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) strategy has become the blueprint for the United Nations’ policy for young people, and it is now used as part of its larger push for “sexual rights.” The debate over sexual rights is not new, nor is the language contained in the WPAY, yet the reasoning behind these sexual rights still needs to be clarified. The WPAY was adopted by the General Assembly in 1995, on the heels of several other notable programs of action regarding social development. The WPAY document was heavily influenced by the results of these meetings, and echoes the concerns of the times.

However, there is now better evidence showing which strategies are effective and which are not among the various concerns that WPAY addresses, such as the treatment of HIV/AIDS. This program of action has been reaffirmed in various resolutions, but it is nonetheless an outdated document, since it was drafted in 1995 and only partially amended in 2007. This paper highlights six of the problems found in the WPAY document, and the reasons why WPAY does not accurately reflect the current needs of youth around the world.