The UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) has endorsed the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, which aims to scale up action in support of youth employment – one of the main global challenges and priorities of our times.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder introduced the Initiative, saying that it represented an exemplary system-wide effort for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular of Goal 8 on “inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all,” and the other goals concerned with youth employment.

Under the ILO lead, the Initiative was developed by 19 entities of the United Nations that are committed to increase the impact of youth employment policies and expand country-level action on decent jobs for young women and men.

The Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth has been an active member of the task team that prepared the strategy for this critical initiative and commends the ILO for its efforts leading its development. Applauding this critical step by the UN CEB, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, said the endorsement is, “A sign of the growing attention from UN on youth development including the pressing challenge of youth unemployment, ” and stressing that, “… the importance of this timely initiative cannot be understated.”  

Currently, two out of five young people in the labour force are either unemployed or working but poor. Of the estimated 200 million unemployed people in 2014 , about 37 per cent (or about 73 million) were between the ages of 15 and 24.

“The youth employment crisis represents a huge decent work deficit for societies worldwide and one of the main challenges of our time. Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have the unique opportunity to work together to scale up action on youth employment and tackle this crisis head on,” said Ryder. “The CEB’s endorsement will help mobilize the various arms of the UN system, and engage multiple partners so that – in the end – young women and men have greater access to decent jobs everywhere.”

ILO Youth

UN Chief Executives Board endorses Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, which ILO Director-General hails as exemplary system-wide effort for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

More specifically, the Initiative proposes to:

  • Engage key stakeholders and world leaders in high-level policy action on youth employment;
  • expand and scale up national and regional policies and interventions on youth employment;
  • pool existing expertise and enhance knowledge on what works for youth employment; and
  • leverage resources from existing facilities while also mobilizing additional resources.

The Initiative is regarded as a template for assisting member states implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and an inspiration for broad collaboration and partnership among all key actors, including the social partners, youth organizations and the public and private sector. It will be guided by a series of principles such as the respect for human rights and the application of international labour standards, the promotion of gender equality and a multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral approach.

Youth employment has been a longstanding priority on the agenda of the United Nations and, in particular, of the ILO. In 2012, the ILO adopted a Resolution  calling for immediate, targeted and renewed action to tackle the youth employment crisis. Building on this experience and call for action, the Initiative aims to increase outreach, scale and impact through expanding partnerships on youth employment.