BEIRUT (ILO News) - The panel discussion in the Lebanese capital on 12-13 March focused on decent work and the youth outlook on the jobs crisis in the Middle East and North Africa.
Skills, low labour demand and the economic and social costs of migration were among the issues discussed at the “Youth Employment in the Arab States” meeting organized jointly by the ILO and Friedbrich Ebert Stiftung (FES).
“We have seen Arab youth’s aspirations for more freedom, decent jobs, equality and social justice”, said Ms. Nada Al Nashif, Director of the ILO Regional Office for Arab States. “Their demands are shared by most Arab people”.
The consultation brought together participants including government, workers’ and employers’ representatives, researchers, youth organizations and other stakeholder from the region.
There is an urgent need for more and better jobs, said Samir Farah, FES Representative in Lebanon, stating that the unemployment rates in the Arab region were among the highest globally.
The panel also noted that figures for the informal sector were increasing rapidly and that this was affecting the development of decent work in the region.
Participants examined policy recommendations aimed at tackling youth unemployment and ways of ensuring youth voices are included in policy-making. Recommendation included improved skills training and promotion of entrepreneurship programs for young people.
"Youth who complete training programmes that develop business skills are more likely to be entrepreneurial and set up business that create employment opportunities”, said Dima ElKhouri from Lebanon.
The ILO estimates that 75 million youth worldwide are currently unemployed and more than 150 million young people are living on less than $1.25 a day.
The consultation in Beirut is among 45 national events organized by the ILO around the world throughout March and April 2012 to hear young people’s views on the alarming youth employment situation.