Decades of efforts to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health have shown that it is not enough to strengthen health services. A range of social, cultural, political, and economic factors have to be addressed in order to create an environment that is conducive to better health outcomes for adolescents. This requires working with a range of stakeholders—everyone from parents to policymakers. A true enabling environment for adolescents empowers them, helps them build healthy relationships, engages communities, and transforms societies.

This fact sheet provides an overview of the research findings presented in a Journal of Adolescent Health supplement and outlines the key elements of an enabling environment as well as relevant UN agreements and key resources.

The research and review articles were developed as part of an expert group meeting convened by the World Health Organization, United Nations Family Planning Fund, and the International Women’s Health Coalition.