Press Release

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



NEW YORK, 1 November (UNFIP) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan and HRH the Prince of Wales will, this afternoon, attend a special forum of business leaders at the United Nations, New York, on the global challenge of youth employment.  They will emphasize the crucial role of private sector active in developing countries in creating jobs for young people and challenge them to come up with new ways for training young people and help them to set up businesses themselves.  The issue of youth employment is very close to the heart of both Kofi Annan and HRH the Prince of Wales.  Kofi Annan has created a special Youth Employment Network, and the Prince of Wales Trust is helping young people to start businesses in over 35 countries.

Today’s event is co-hosted by the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in association with the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum and Youth Business International.

"We need to develop strategies that will give all young people the opportunities to find decent and productive work, allowing them to become independent and responsible global citizens.  All of us -- in public institutions, in the private sector, in civil society -- have a responsibility to help this new generation fulfil its incredible potential", said Kemal Derviş, the Administrator of UNDP.

Youth employment is a global challenge.  Creating full and productive employment for young people is key to promoting sustained economic growth, alleviating poverty and delivering the UN Millennium Development Goals.  It is also critical in addressing the issue of young people’s growing alienation from society.  Encouraging and supporting youth enterprise is a central element in promoting youth employment.  Working together, business, Governments and civil society can unleash the capacity of young people for business start-ups and growth, which stimulate broader economic development.

The issue of youth employment has been highlighted this year through the Commission for Africa.  It made an explicit recommendation to the Group of 8 to expand the work of the UN Youth Employment Network, and to engage the private sector in generating employment opportunities and demand-led training in African countries with growing populations of young people.  These themes were picked up in the Group of 8 discussions this year and by a business-led coalition, Business Action for Africa, working to promote positive change in Africa.  This year is also the UN Year of Microcredit, which will be addressed at a special UN summit later in November.

Much has been said on the challenges and critical importance of youth employment, but action is still needed to maximize tangible impacts on the ground.  The private sector is absolutely critical to this action.  This event aims to focus private sector attention and energy into actions that address youth unemployment, as well as making good business sense.

The discussion will include business leaders, civil society, representatives of the United Nations and ambassadors of UN Member States, and presentations by young entrepreneurs identifying the challenges of youth employment.  The discussion will be moderated by Robert Davies, CEO of the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum.  Kemal Derviş, Administrator of UNDP, and Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, will be in charge of follow-up, encouraging participants to take recommendations of the panel forward.

The United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) promotes new United Nations partnerships and alliances worldwide.  The UNFIP is an autonomous trust fund set up in the Office of the Secretary-General to facilitate the partnership with UNF and other partnership opportunities with the larger UN system.

For more information, contact:  Christina LoNigro, Press Officer, UNDP, at e-mail: Christina.lonigro@undp.org, tel: 212-906-5301; Mary Mills-Brown, Network Coordinator, Youth Business International, tel: +44 (0) 20 7467 3662, fax:
+44 (0) 20 7467 3610, e-mail: mary.mills-brown@iblf.org; Camilla Schippa, Outreach Officer, UNFIP, at e-mail: schippa@un.org, tel: 212-963-3441.

For more information visit: www.youth-business.org

For information about media accreditation, please visit www.un.org/media/accreditation. Address requests for accreditation to Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, United Nations, fax: 1-212-963-4642.  For further inquiries, call 212-963-6934.

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For information media • not an official record