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The 2019 Social Forum


01 - 02 October 2019

In 2019, the Social Forum took place on 1 and 2 October in Room XX at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. In accordance with resolution 38/17 of the Human Rights Council, it focused on ' the promotion and protection of the rights of children and youth through education'.

On the basis of the contributions of all stakeholders, including Governments, international organizations, civil society, as well as children and youth, the Social Forum cast light on how the rights of children and youth can be protected and promoted through education, and how it can fulfil its transformative potential.

Outcome documents

Videos from the Forum

  • Opening remarks (Video)
  • Keynote panel: The transformative power of education for young people (Video)
  • Panel 1: Reaching those being left behind and defending the right to education (Video)
  • Panel 2: Education in conflict and emergencies (Video)
  • Opening of Day 2 (Video)
  • Panel 3: "Human rights education for youth and by youth: Experiences from different regions and the way forward" (Video)
  • Panel 4: How education today can strengthen opportunities for the future (Video)
  • Panel 5: Education as empowerment for children and youth (Video)
  • Conversation on the way forward with the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights (Video)
  • Closing remarks and musical performance (Video)


Education is both a fundamental human right in itself, and an essential means by which children and youth are empowered to claim their rights and become agents of change for sustainable development. It serves as a powerful tool to break down cycles of exclusion, and will be central to the overall achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Yet today millions are excluded from education and the transformative opportunities that it generates. According to the UN data, more than half of children and adolescents are not meeting minimum literacy and numeracy standards, and deep disparities persist based on gender, location and other circumstances.

Moreover, global trends of increased conflict, situations of emergency, climate change and migration have profound implications. The gaps between the reality on the ground and the imperative to realize the right to education for all children and youth calls for a paradigm shift, with solutions aiming at reaching those being left behind while ensuring that education becomes 'fit for the future'.

Context of the 2019 Social Forum

The 2019 Social Forum took place on the 30th anniversary year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and at a time that youth has become a priority for the United Nations. It was also aligned with International Youth Day 2019, which focused on transforming education to make it more inclusive and accessible for all youth. It is therefore a key opportunity for dialogue on promoting and protecting the rights of children and youth through education.

Side events

Further information