Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Second Committee
Introduction of the Report of the Secretary-General
“Human resources development for the twenty-first century”

For delivery by Mr. Navid Hanif, Director, Office of ECOSOC Support and Coordination

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honor to introduce the Report of the Secretary-General on “Human resources development for the twenty-first century” contained in document A/72/292.

Human resources development is fundamental to fulfilling the commitment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind.

The world of work is changing significantly everywhere, with effects on shifting demands for human resources and skills. However, the future of work is not a fait accompli – there is the potential to shape its course.

The present report underscores the importance of focusing approaches to human resources development on enabling all individuals to effectively navigate the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century.

Currently, employment trends paint a challenging picture because of decreasing employment intensity in some sectors, wage stagnation and income inequality. This is compounded by the situations of vulnerable employment in many developing countries.

Rapid advances in science, technology and innovation are transforming economies and societies, with subsequent effects on how people prepare for, access and obtain work.

In addition, the organization of work and production is changing as the result of globalization. Additionally, the future of work will be shaped by the global demographic situation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The report also emphasizes education, training and skills development, which are at the core of human resources development, and will need to be adapted to current and anticipated changes in the world of work.

From a general perspective, this will require ensuring that education and training systems continue to improve, including through raising the quality and relevance of programmes and institutions for learning.

When it comes to the institutional requirements, the report recognizes the need for national institutional adaptation, especially within education, training and social protection systems. It calls for human resources development as part of national sustainable development strategies, which should be informed by multi-stakeholder engagement to ensure policy integration and coordination.

While there is no “one size fits all” approach, certain elements contributing to effective human resources development are identified in the report. They include:

– long-term investments in inclusive and equitable quality education;
– lifelong learning opportunities;
– early childhood education;
– systems thinking and interdisciplinary approaches in the higher education sector;
– better connections between education and employment; and
– a strengthening of social protection systems and labour standards.

Distinguished Delegates,

The report concludes with a section on the role of the United Nations and its role in capacity building and international cooperation.

The United Nations provides integrated policy advice to support countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Thanks to the advances in technology the United Nations system can deliver such efforts in innovative ways, particularly through effective knowledge management systems.

At the same time, however, technological change, and its potential impacts on societies at large, are reshaping the United Nations policy research work and its normative agenda.

The United Nations is expected to support human resources development for the twenty-first century. This will require investments in the Organization’s own workforce putting people at its center, so that they can deliver this support to Member States.

Thank you.

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