Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE): Enabling healthy and respectful relationships, empowering young people, shaping our future!

Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE): Enabling healthy and respectful relationships, empowering young people, shaping our future!

Early and unintended pregnancy. Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Gender-based violence. Child, early and forced marriages.  These are just some of the touchpoints in many young people’s lives that often stem from inequitable sexual and gender norms and attitudes, and harmful social practices. All of this prevents children and young people from cultivating and enjoying healthy and respectful relationships, as they transition to adulthood.

While there is clear and compelling evidence that CSE prepares and empowers children and young people to take control and make informed decisions about their sexuality and relationships freely and responsibly, the quality and coverage of CSE programmes in the Asia Pacific region are inadequate across the board. This means that few children and young people are receiving crucial preparation for their lives to help reflect on social norms, cultural values and traditional beliefs, in order for them to better understand and manage their relationships with peers, parents, teachers, other adults and communities.

At the regional CSE dialogue, UNESCO will also be launching a global campaign entitled ‘A Foundation for Life and Love’, featuring the voices of parents and their children from countries around the world, including Thailand, to show why it is so important for young people to learn about health, relationships, gender, sex and sexuality. The global campaign tells a positive story, highlighting inter-generational communication and families who are embracing the possibility of educating the next generation and making a difference to their overall health and well-being.

UNESCO Bangkok, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office (APRO) and the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) are hosting a multi-stakeholder dialogue on CSE in Bangkok on 6-7 September 2018. The gathering will bring together government officials, civil society organisations and UN colleagues engaged in CSE programmes across 15 countries to collaboratively strategise on national and regional priorities to ensure that all children and young people are able to benefit from quality CSE programmes.

In addition to the regional dialogue, the three host organisations are encouraging an online engagement and conversation to highlight the critical value of sexuality education in the lives of young people and to address the myths and misconceptions about CSE that often keep young people from benefiting from these programmes in their countries.

The goal is clear – children and young people must have access to accurate and age appropriate knowledge and skills – in and out of school – to enable them to make conscious, healthy and respectful choices about their relationships and sexuality.  

In order to achieve this goal, there is need for a greater awareness of the benefits of evidence-based, age-appropriate CSE on the health and well-being of all young people, and what the value is for the wider community.

Let your voice be heard, share your thoughts, and support the call to strengthen CSE programmes in the region by using the hashtags #CSE4All and #CSEandMe

You can also join this conversation on Facebook at UNESCOUNFPA and ARROW or via Twitter at @UNESCO_AsiaPac,@UNFPAasia and @ARROW_Women.

Learn more about what CSE is here:

UNESCO’s recently updated and expanded International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education

UNFPA’s Operational Guidance for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: A Focus on Human Rights and Gender

Learn more about the status of CSE implementation globally, including in the Asia-Pacific region:

UNESCO’s Emerging Evidence, Lessons and Practice in Comprehensive Sexuality Education: A Global Review

ARROW’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in Asia: A Regional Brief

UNFPA’s The Evaluation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education Programmes 

Related Resources:

ARROW’s Coming of Age in the Classroom: Religious and Cultural Barriers to Comprehensive Sexuality Education

ARROW’s Sustainable Development Agenda & Young People: Recognising Voices and Claiming Rights

UNFPA’s Review of Curricula in the Context of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Nepal

UNESCO and UNFPA’s Young people and the law in Asia and the Pacific 

UNFPA’s Our Rights Matter Too: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Young Key Populations in Asia and the Pacific

UNFPA’s Young Persons with Disabilities: Global Study on Ending Gender-based Violence and Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

UNFPA’s Adolescent Boys and Young Men    

For more information, please contact:

Kabir Singh, Regional Advisor (HIV and Health), UNESCO Bangkok:

Josephine Sauvarin, Regional Advisor on Adolescents and Youth, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional

Sai Jyothirmai Racherla, Programme Director, Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW)