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Young people aged 15-29 make up to 25 per cent of the population in Georgia. Despite the fact that youth development became priority for the public agenda youth still face number of challenges in Georgia.  Generally, there are no legal restrictions in terms of youth and adolescents’ access to SRH services, except for required parental consent for abortion for minors under 16 years, however the reproductive and sexual health needs of adolescents and youth are going largely unmet in Georgia. The healthcare providers are not equipped with the skills to meet young people’s unique needs for information, counseling and confidential services. Lack of availability of youth friendly SRH services, coupled with cultural stigma, hinders youth and adolescents’ access to youth-friendly SRH/FP services and information, constituting a major risk for STIs, including HIV as well as unintended pregnancies. Education on Reproductive Health and Rights for youth has not been institutionalized in the formal education and mostly informal and peer-to-peer education methods have been employed to reach out to young people with correct messages and information on SRH, gender equality, gender-based violence, etc.

Considering these challenges with regard to youth situation in Georgia, UNFPA has been advocating for elaboration of the Youth Policy which would incorporate the ICPD agenda. The comprehensive National Youth Policy elaborated with the leaderships of the the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs with UNFPA and UNICEF support was adopted by the Government of Georgia in 2014. It integrates issues of ICDP agenda and clearly defines the Government’s commitment and vision towards youth development. The Policy aims to create an enabling environment for integration of age-appropriate SRH information into the formal and informal education and for increasing availability and access to quality youth friendly SRH services. Gender Equality and Human Rights are mainstreamed as core values underlying young people’s sustainable development.

UNFPA supported development of the “National Youth Policy Action Plan 2014-2020”, and the “Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism of implementation of the National Youth Policy Action Plan for 2014-2020”. The special website Youth Policy Monitor was established as part of this initiative to enable on-line monitoring of the Action Plan annual implementation by the key ministries, as well as provide user-friendly access to data and analytical resources on Youth related issues.

The policy documents were developed applying the participatory approach, involving the government, youth, NGOs and UN agencies, Young people were specifically supported and encouraged to participate into the policy development process to reflect their views and recommendations in the policy documents.

The National Youth Policy adopted by the Government of Georgia in 2014 clearly defines the Government’s commitment and vision towards youth development and supports increased access of young people to quality SRH services and education on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues based on the best modern international standards for formal and informal education.

In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, UNFPA continues to support integration of age- and culturally sensitive education on Healthy life-style, Reproductive Health and Rights into the formal education system of Georgia.

Empowering youth through informal education on SRH&RR and gender equality, as a cornerstone of young people’s transition to adulthood, influencing outcomes for youth across a range of issues have been UNFPA CO priority for years. Therefore, promoting youth sustainable development and empowerment have been fostered through various innovative initiatives such as peer education trainings, youth forums, informational sessions, etc.

Peer education training sessions have been initiated by UNFPA Co Georgia since 2006. The trainings are designed to educate and raise awareness of young people on critical issues such as gender equality, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, domestic violence, etc. and to equip them with the knowledge and skills to disseminate accurate messages and information among their peers.

UNFPA supports establishing youth participatory advocacy platforms, by strengthening youth-led organizations for youth mobilization and advocacy on youth rights, including gender equality and SRH&RR. The Youth Forums have been supported, as a forum for youth dialogue with government and policy makers and advocacy for prioritizing topical issues in the area of gender equality and youth SRH&RR.

The annual Youth Festivals “Peers for Equality” being conducted in partnership with local authorities, is UNFPA’s innovative approach for youth awareness raising on gender equality, healthy life-style, SRH&R issues.