Youth Sex Education in a Multicultural Europe

Youth Sex Education WHO

BZgA/WHO Conference on Youth Sex Education in a Multicultural Europe Cologne, November 2006

Germany's Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) has been a WHO Collaboration Centre for sexual and reproductive health since 2003. Within this field, the BZgA supports in particular the WHO programme to intensify cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Since 1992, in accordance with the German legislation on support for pregnancy and families, the BZgA has been responsible for producing sex education and family planning concepts, tailored to the needs of specific target groups, and for disseminating these concepts nationwide. The aim is to prevent pregnancy conflicts and to promote general sex education. The overall approach to sex education, formulated in collaboration with the individual federal states, specifies the responsibilities, programme contents, aims and target groups (the public at large, young people and young adults in particular, and multiplicators). Sex education is understood here in accordance with the WHO definition of sexuality as a lifelong process, aiming to engender self-determined and responsible attitudes and behaviour with regard to sexuality, contraception, relationships and life strategies and planning.

The first phase of the collaboration between the WHO and the BZgA focuses on young people. Increasing mobility through the opening of national frontiers makes young people a particularly important target group in regional and national strategies for improving sexual and reproductive health.

In its strategies for improving sexual and reproductive health (WHO 2001) in the European region, the WHO sets out the following goals: reducing the incidence of unwanted pregnancy, pregnancy termination and sexually transmitted infections; educating young people in the fields of reproduction and sexuality; and ensuring equal access to health services. The collaboration with the WHO is focused on providing young people with the information and skills they need and supporting them in asserting their rights.

In this context, the BZgA together with the European Regional Office of the World Health Organisation in Copenhagen held an international conference from 14th to 16th November 2006 in Cologne on the subject of “Sex Education for Young People in a Multicultural Europe”.

The conference offered experts a forum for presenting and discussing national strategies and successful initiatives in the various fields of activity in the WHO Euro Region. As well as an opportunity for sharing information and experience, the conference aimed at encouraging networking and collaboration in the European region. Through this documentation we would like to make the results of the conference available. The speeches delivered and papers presented in the working groups provide an insight into the difficulties and criteria for the success of sex education projects in the various countries. The discussions and recommendations underscore the common agreement of the participants on the conditions that are necessary for sex education to be successful, despite differing regional circumstances. The BZgA views the international exchange on the basis of national analyses from 16 countries as the central foundation for further cooperation, for know-how transfer in the European region and for the continuation of the debate on the issues involved. The aim is to strengthen multicultural sex education in Europe. 

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Bibliographic data

Media: Print
Publication date: 10/2007

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