The UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) endorsed, last week, the ILO’s Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, which aims to scale up action in support of youth employment.

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, introduced the Initiative, saying that it represented an exemplary UN 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 of all the other goals related to youth employment. “We have the unique opportunity to work together to scale up action on youth employment and tackle this crisis head on”, said Guy Ryder. The Director General also mentioned the challenge posed by the lack of jobs for young people, “the youth employment crisis represents a huge decent work deficit for societies worldwide and one of the main challenges of our time”, asserted Ryder.

Headed by the ILO, the Initiative was developed by 19 United National bodies that are committed to increasing the impact of youth employment policies and expanding country-level action on decent jobs for young men and women.  Currently, two out of every five young people in the labour force are either underemployed or working but are still poor. Of the estimated 200 million people who were unemployed in 2014, about 37 percent (almost 73 million) were between the ages of 15 and 24.  More specifically, the Initiative proposes the following:

  • Engage key stakeholders and world leaders in high-level political action on youth employment;
  • Expand and Intensify national and regional actions to implement systematic and coherent policies regarding youth employment;
  • Pool experiences, enhance knowledge on what works and does not work regarding youth employment and disseminate them through the development of tools and by encouraging skills; and
  • Obtain resources from the existing institutions and mobilize additional resources.

The Initiative is regarded as a model for assisting member states to implement the 2030 Agenda and as inspiration for broad collaboration and partnership among all key actors, including social interlocutors, youth organisations and the public and private sectors.