Life as we know it has been turned upside down. Societies have been virus-stricken, with hundreds of thousands losing their lives. Health care systems are under pressure, the global economy is in decline and vulnerable groups are seriously affected. The ravage of COVID-19 is extensive. To help the world navigate towards a sustainable recovery, UN DESA’s experts have closely monitored the situation and shared policy recommendations to support the Secretary-General’s efforts. These policy briefs, in addition to UN DESA’s other reports and initiatives, are now being shared with the world through a new Global Online Policy Dialogue Series.
The next event of the series, on 29 September, focuses on young people, who face the unique challenge of managing their personal development and transition to adulthood amid more uncertainties than usual. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), COVID-19 has impacted job prospects for the world’s 1.2 billion young people. This demographic – 15 to 24 years old – faced an unemployment rate three times higher than adults before the crisis.
The upcoming discussion, “Navigating uncertainties: An intergenerational dialogue on the impact of COVID-19 on youth employment,” offers young people an opportunity to discuss the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic during a period of their lives when many things are already in flux. Special attention will be paid to the possibility of entrepreneurship as a career path for youth during this pandemic era.
Opening remarks will be made by Jeph Acheampong of Ghana, the young founder of Blossom Academy, which recruits and develops African data science talent. Other speakers to be featured include Waziha Raquib (Bangladesh/Malaysia), co-founder of Neeti, a youth advocacy network in Bangladesh, and youth Nwachinemere Emeka, the founder and CEO of Kitovo Technology, a Nigerian social enterprise that connects farmers with tools to improve crop yield. Kitovo is also a selected enterprise in the 2020 Science, Technology and Innovation Forum Innovators Challenge.
Members of older generations, including Anastasia Gage, a professor at Tulane University and member of the UN High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs (HLAB), and Krishnan Gautam, founder of Ageing Nepal, will also share their ideas for how people of all ages can better support youth at this time of transition in their lives.
The discussions will draw from the 2020 UN World Youth Report, the work of the ILO, and the work of the HLAB. Online participants are welcome to share questions during the event and ahead of time on social media. The results of this dialogue —and future sessions on digital governance, climate action and demographic change—will inform UN DESA’s future policy briefs on the economic and social effects of the pandemic.
The series kicked off in July, after the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, with the launch of a new volume, “Recover Better: Economic and Social Challenges and Opportunities,” from the High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs (HLAB).
All sessions in the online dialogue series will be open to the public. Information about future events and registration will be available on UN DESA’s website.