Adolescent development

The second window of opportunity

girls jumping together in the Philippines
UNICEF/UNI157813

Potential for a better future

Approximately 329 million adolescents reside in the East Asia and Pacific region and constitute a quarter of the world’s adolescent population. They must know their rights and be encouraged to pursue their dreams.

Risks and opportunities

Adolescents laughing while they sit together on a computer
UNICEF/UN040304

Adolescence is a phase separate from both early childhood and adulthood. It is a transitional period that requires special attention and protection. Physically, children go through a number of transitions while they mature. We now know that the brain undergoes quite substantial developments in early adolescence, which affect emotional skills as well as physical and mental abilities.

However, often, they face a number of issues, ranging from violence, early deaths from accidents, to suicides, alcohol and substance use, among many more. Adolescent girls are often particularly at risk.

A voice for all adolescents

Adolescents who are better informed and involved in decision-making can better protect themselves, grow and develop to their full potential

To deal with these complex issues and to help adolescents and youth to transition to adulthood as educated, socially-adjusted global citizens, UNICEF promotes cross-sectoral approaches.

UNICEF strongly encourages adolescent and youth participation, as a right, in planning, analysis and programs. With an emphasis on equity, UNICEF EAPRO encourages specific attention to adolescents from the most disadvantaged groups, such as those who are stateless, migrants and those with disabilities.