In both developed and developing countries, youth unemployment and underemployment rates have reached alarming levels. According to the latest figures from the International Labour Organization, an unprecedented 81 million young people were unemployed and many more are underemployed and working in jobs of poor quality.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is holding a youth forum,“Creating a Sustainable Future: Empowering Youth with Better Job Opportunities” on 4 May 2012 at the United Nations Headquarters, New York City. This event is organized jointly by UN DESA and the Department of Public Information (DPI).
In July 2012, Member States, policymakers, civil society organizations, and representatives of academia and the private sector will meet in New York during the high-level segment of the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council to address the challenge of increasing productive capacity and promoting employment and decent work. This requires a comprehensive, inter-generational, cross-cultural, and cross-sectoral approach that is impossible without the participation of Governments, youth, and all segments of society.
The 4 May Forum has been organized as a contribution to the Economic and Social Council high-level segment by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) in the Department of Public Information and the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination (OESC) in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. .
The outcome of the meeting will be shared with Member States at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development-Rio+20, to take place in Brazil, in June 2012, and also during the Economic and Social Council high-level session in July 2012.
Building on the International Year of Youth, the Youth Forum will focus on addressing various challenges facing today’s youth, including the availability of jobs. The foremost outcome of the Forum will be a list of recommended actions for Governments, the international community, civil society, the private sector, and youth to effectively address youth employment issues within the context of the current global economic and financial situation. The forum will also be expected to provide a platform for youth to engage in dialogue with various stakeholders to explore possible solutions to create economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable jobs, which eventually will lead to the “Future We Want”.
The Youth Forum will take the format of interactive dialogue sessions entitled “Training and Education to Facilitate Access to Job Market” and “Promoting Youth Employment — Creating Jobs for a More Sustainable Future”, tailored to accommodate lively discussions in which youth themselves are encouraged to freely participate. Through the Forum, young people will have an opportunity not only to make their voice heard, but also exchange their views and ideas with multiple stakeholders. Worldwide, youth representatives will attend the event via videolink and in person.
The Forum will open with a welcoming address by Economic and Social Council President Miloš Koterec, followed by remarks by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro. Speakers and moderators will include Ronan Farrow, Special Adviser to the United States Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues, Rishi Jaitly, Program Director, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Dr. Gernot Wagner, from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, and Danielle Fong, Chief Science Officer and Co-founder, LightSail Energy. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang and Department of Public Information Acting Head Maher Nasser will deliver closing remarks.