Ban urges greater investment to tackle global epidemic of youth unemployment
At a time when the international communityis struggling to generate more jobs, especially for young people,United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday urgedGovernments to invest more in youth employment initiatives and promote decent work for all.
"I believe employment and decent work, particularly for young people, are the backbone of development," Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva.
"Yet we are facing a great test of our time - an epidemic of youth
unemployment," he added.
Mr. Ban noted that half of the world's young people in the labour
force are either working poor or unemployed. The global youth
unemployment situation is intolerable, particularly for young women.
"In countries rich and poor, unemployment rates for young people are
many times those of adults - and, of course, joblessness is the tip of the iceberg," he stated. "Many are stuck in low-wage work with no
protection in the informal economy. Many others find that their
schooling has not equipped them with the right tools for today's job
Half the world, said Mr. Ban, is under 25 years of age - nearly 90 per cent of them in developing countries. "These young people represent an enormous resource for innovation and development," he stated.
"I have seen it again and again in my travels around the world - from social entrepreneurs developing smart,new business models ... to young people creating green jobs and more sustainable economies ... to youth leaders speaking out, and tweeting out, for change."
In tackling the epidemic of global youth unemployment, the
Secretary-General called on governments to invest more in youth
employment initiatives and promote decent work.
He also urged trade unions, employers' organizations and the private
sector at large to empower more youth in their own structures and
engage with youth-led organizations, noting that the private sector is
key to job creation and that trade unions have a fundamental role in
promoting and protecting young workers' rights.
Turning to young people, he stated: "You are the largest youth
generation the world has ever known. You are already active in your
organizations and as part of governments, trade unions and the private sector.
"I count on your energy, your leadership and creativity, to realize
change and sustainable development. The United Nations wants to
partner with you. Decent jobs for youth are essential to the future we want. Let us work for a world where nobody is left behind, where
everybody can have a decent work. And let us work for a better world
While in Geneva today, Mr. Ban met with Nabil Elaraby,
Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. They discussed the
Syria crisis, including the priorities of humanitarian access and
bringing the fighting to a halt, as well as the current search for a
successor to Lakhdar Brahimi, the former joint Special Representative on the crisis.
They also exchanged views on the current state of the Middle East
peace process, as well as on the ongoing crises in Iraq, Libya and
Somalia, according to a read-out of the meeting.
(Posted on 18-06-2014)