Giving young people a voice

Giving young people a voice (UN Photo/Evan Schneider)

“The social, economic and political costs of a prolonged youth unemployment crisis are high. It is therefore obvious that there is an urgency in addressing the youth employment crisis, but youth employment cannot be tackled without the involvement and participation of youth. It is with this in mind that the current World Youth Report is dedicated to the voices of young people themselves,” said Ms. Daniela Bas, Director of UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development at today’s launch.

For the first time, inputs gathered from youth around the world through an extensive online consultation, form the core of the report, entitled Youth Employment: Youth Perspectives on the Pursuit of Decent Work in Changing Times. A total of approximately 1,100 contributions were received during the four-week consultation period. The launch of the report included an interactive panel discussion with questions and comments by young people coming from the social media channels Facebook and Twitter.

Published by UN DESA, “the report explores the transition of young people from schools and training institutions into the labour market,” highlighted Ms. Bas. In 2010, the global youth unemployment rate was 12.6 per cent, dramatically overshadowing the global adult unemployment rate of 4.8 per cent. Even more significant is the crisis in the developing world, home to 87 per cent of the world’s youth, who are often underemployed and working in the informal economy under poor conditions.

The report underlines the social impact of unemployment on youth which includes difficulty in securing independent housing and also accommodations in general, the delay in establishing a family and the lack of participation of young people in the life of society.

The report reveals that young people are worried about the quality and relevance of their education, as mentioned by Amadou, a 24-year-old man from Senegal: “Today it should be easier to find a job because our generation is the most educated but there is an inadequacy between the training offered and the needs of the labour market.”

“Today we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They are demanding their rights and a greater voice in economic and political life. We need to pull the UN system together like never before to support a new social contract of job-rich economic growth. Let us start with young people.”

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