Youth and employment part of a sustainable future

The first Youth Forum took place on 4 May under the theme “Creating a Sustainable Future: Empowering Youth with Better Job Opportunities”. 

“Young people are the future of our societies. As such, they should also be part of solutions,” the Vice President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Luis Alfonso de Alba, told participants at the first Youth Forum, hosted by ECOSOC. “Creating a sustainable future means empowering youth with better job opportunities – and it means giving young people a voice.”

The forum, whose theme is “Empowering Youth with Better Job Opportunities,” brought together young delegates and entrepreneurs, students and representatives of youth non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Participants took part in two interactive dialogues, the first one focusing on education and training, and the second on the creation of green jobs and the conditions needed to create them. In her address to participants, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro stressed that youth are mobilizing like never before and that their ideas can help countries achieve their sustainable development objectives.

Currently, young people are three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. In Europe nearly one in four young people are out of a job, and in North Africa and the Middle East youth unemployment is almost 30 per cent, the highest worldwide. Mr. de Alba highlighted that in addition to a high rate of unemployment, it is important to look at underemployment and vulnerable employment, as many young people are on precarious short-term contracts, or trapped in low-skill and poorly paid jobs.

The Forum was attended by youth representatives from around the world as well as Member States, representatives from the private sector, the academic community, and civil society organizations that are engaged in youth issues. Key messages and recommendations arising from the Forum will be presented at the Rio+20 Conference in June, and the Council’s own High-Level Segment in July.

The event was organized by DESA (Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination in collaboration with Division for Social Policy and Development) and the Department of Public Information (UN Academic Impact).