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As part of the preparatory process for the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Exclusive Event, “Breaking new ground: Partnerships for more and better jobs for young people”, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are launching a series of video conversations on Livestream and UN Webcast on 27 February 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.


  • Kevin Cassidy,  Communications and External Relations, ILO

10.30 a.m. - Dialogue 1: Innovations in Promoting Youth Employment


  • Sharan Burrow,   General Secretary, International Trade Union Federation
  • Ronnie Goldberg, Executive Vice President and Senior Policy Officer, United States Council  for International Business     

Context:  Recent world developments have put jobs at the center of policy debate, as the economic and financial crisis has resulted in massive job losses in developing, emerging and industrial countries alike. Of the world’s total number of unemployed in 2010, the ILO states nearly 40 per cent-or about 75 million-were between 15 and 24 years of age. Today, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adult workers. Political upheavals, particularly in the Arab world highlight the discontent of educated youth whose employment opportunities fall far short of expectations. Such political upheavals could boost transparency and accountability, but if jobs do not follow, they could lead to greater instability. There is therefore a sense of urgency, with a reminder that jobs are the cornerstone of economic and social development.                                                                                     

This session will highlight:

  •  Examples of programmes, structures and policies currently in place for promoting youth employment, and what can be done—particularly within the context of the current adverse economic climate—to provide a more favourable environment for more and better jobs for youth;
  • Why partnerships between governments and civil society, and particularly the private sector, are crucial for ensuring decent work for youth;

10.45 a.m. - Dialogue 2: Inspiring and Educating Young Entrepreneurs


  • Ms. Linda Ben, Owner, Leshaua’s & Executive Vice President, JCI International South Africa
  • Esther KyteAssociate Director, Commitment Departments, Clinton Global Initiative (tbc)

Context:  In 2011, 74.8 million youth aged 15–24 were unemployed, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007. The global youth unemployment rate, at 12.7 per cent, remains a full percentage point higher than the pre-crisis level. Globally, young people are nearly three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. In addition, an estimated 6.4 million young people have given up hope of finding a job and have dropped out of the labour market altogether. The private sector and governments can play a major role in assisting young people to overcome obstacles and thrive as entrepreneurs.  Young, successful entrepreneurs should also be encouraged to advise young people who are striving to be employed or start up a business of their own. 

This session will highlight:

  •    The experiences of young, successful entrepreneurs, and what they feel must be done to enable other young persons to succeed in the world of work;
  •    The role both the private sector and governments can play in assisting young people to overcome obstacles and thrive as entrepreneurs;
  • What must be done to address the problem of jobs/skills mismatch 

11 a.m. - Dialogue 3: Empowering youth with better jobs: Challenges & obstacles


  • Susan Davis, President and CEO, BRAC USA
  • Poonam Ahluwalia, President, Youth Entrepreneurship & Sustainability (YES)

Context: The “Empowering youth with better jobs: Challenges & obstacles” dialogue will discuss the challenges that young people face in trying to obtain employment.  It will examine the challenges facing youth and which impede upon their capacity to contribute to their societies: unemployment, gender inequalities, lack of access to education, marginalization, poverty, discrimination, limited or no involvement in public affairs.  It will focus both on the skills and the opportunities to support the constructive participation of youth in the economic life of their communities and their countries.

This session will highlight:

  • To address the economic aspect of youth development and civic engagement strategies.
  • To look transversally into global issues in which youth have the potential to drive change
  • To identify specific opportunities and challenges and recommendations for innovative action on the ground

11.15 a.m. - Dialogue 4: How can youth drive change: Promoting green jobs for a sustainable future


  • Andrew Fiddaman, Managing Director, The Prince's Youth Business International (YBI)
  • Luis Viguria, Chief Executive Officer, Young Americas Business Trust, Organization of American States

Context:  The “How can youth drive change: Promoting green jobs for a sustainable future” dialogue will discuss green jobs and how youth can find employment in this marketplace.  Millions of green jobs already exist in the following six economic sectors: energy supply, transport, manufacturing, buildings, materials management, retail, agriculture, and forestry. More efforts must be made to ensure that young people are ready to take advantage of new environment-oriented employment opportunities. Green jobs not only provide much-needed employment opportunities for youth, they also give young people an outlet to contribute directly to the fight against climate change by adopting green behaviors in the workplace as well as in their private lives.       

This session will highlight:

  • To determine how youth can take advantage of these new environment-oriented employment opportunities.
  •  To enhance awareness on the importance of the environment among young people and to provide them with knowledge that can help them to become active agents of change in our society.
  • To discuss the need of the abundant spirit of youth as the world seeks to embrace cleaner, more sustainable forms of energy, including renewable resources.

11.30 a.m. - Dialogue 5:  Talent Matching: Improving the Transition from School to Work


  • Jose Manuel Salazar,  Executive Director of the Employment Sector, International Labour Organization
  •  David Arkless,   President - Corporate and Government Affairs, ManpowerGroup

Context:   The world faces major challenges in creating enough quality jobs to sustain growth and development. The financial crisis of 2007–09 led to a sharp increase in layoffs and a slowdown in hiring, and thus to rising unemployment, underemployment and informal work.  Unemployment remains at very high levels in many advanced economies, with little sign of an early fall.  The scars of this distress in labour markets could last for a very long time – in the case of young workers unable to get their first job, a lifetime.  Youth unemployment is likely to affect attitudes in a manner that reduces social cohesion, a cost that all will bear.

This session will highlight:

    • The human cost of the recession, particularly for youth, and its affect on social cohesion.
    • Social protection policies that can play a major role in cushioning youth populations from economic shocks and in improving social cohesion.    
    • The increasing income gap and wage inequality taking place in many countries.