We work to ensure that young women and men have a voice in local government, access to livelihoods and can enjoy their rights in cities. Youth empowerment is mainstreamed across all programmatic work of UN-Habitat. All programmes, country-level work and topics engage with youth. The primary aim of mainstreaming is to provide support and technical guidance to project managers.

The Challenge

Young women and men are flocking to cities more than ever before. It is expected that by 2030 more than 50% of urban populations will be under 35. Despite this, young people have little voice in decision-making and face major obstacles to education, employment and safety.

Some of the greatest challenges cities face today is generating data on the challenges that the youth encounter, including access to basic services such as education; sanitation and housing; underemployment and unemployment; and exclusion from decision-making. Without this data, city officials are unable to develop strategies that attend to this exclusion. For example, without local labour market information, it is difficult to plan effective employment training interventions that reduce unemployment.

On the basis of experience gained through its Urban Youth Research Network (a global network of urban youth experts), UN-Habitat provides a range of research and strategic planning services, including:

  • National or city-level empirical research on the challenges and opportunities of urban youth populations;
  • National or city-level workshops to discuss the results of the research on urban youth; and
  • Participatory formulation of a national or city urban youth strategy, which encompasses skills development, job creation, sports, and recreation


Urban youth, over 50% of them women, have received training and other support through the Urban Youth Fund which has funded over 250 youth-led groups in 66 countries and 172 cities globally.
Social enterprises focused on urban sustainability have been seeded through the Urban Youth Fund.
Urban youth, many from informal settlements and conflict cities, have accessed health services, job training and recreation activities through our One Stop Youth Resource centres.

News and Stories

Featured Stories & Videos

Featured Stories & Videos

Highlighted Publications

Technical Report
Advancing Economic Citizenship for Children and Youth in Sub Saharan Africa

Donors and partners

UN-Habitat advocates for ‘youth-led development’ based on the knowledge that youth are powerful agents of change and must be leaders in development processes. As such, UN-Habitat works closely with young men and women at the country level, whilst providing platforms for youth to engage with national government and the international urban agenda.

UN-Habitat works closely with young men and women across the globe to improve lives in cities. UN-Habitat partners with young people, youth-led organization, civil society and the UN family to ensure a consistent approach to development. UN-Habitat is a key member of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth, and Chaired the group in 2018.

Our Experts

Douglas Ragan
Programme Management Officer Specialist, Children and Youth, Human Rights and Social Inclusion Unit
Urban Practices Branch, Global Solutions Division