Youth Employment for Peace and Resilience

Working together to facilitate access to decent jobs for youth in fragile situations

The event “Youth Employment for Peace and Resilience” brought together a broad range of stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities to support young people in fragile situations.

News | 25 September 2017
NEW YORK (ILO News) - Nearly two billion people live in countries affected by conflict, violence and disasters. Over a third of them are young women and men, 15 to 24 years of age. Building and sustaining peace and resilience through employment and decent work can transform their lives address their vulnerabilities and ensure that youth continue to be active agents of change and reconciliation.

With this premise, the Ministry of Employment and Social Security of Spain, the Permanent Mission of Tunisia to the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Labour Organization convened a high-level event on 20 September 2017, at the side-lines of the 72nd General Assembly in New York.

The event Youth Employment for Peace and Resilience brought together a broad range of actors from governments, social partners, the UN system, young leaders, youth and civil society organizations and the private sector to discuss the challenges and opportunities to support young people in fragile situations, under the aegis of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.

“Youth employment and quality jobs for youth remain at the top of the global development agenda and at the center of national priorities of policy makers and citizens around the world,” said ILO Director General Guy Ryder at the opening of the high level dialogue.

Discussions were framed by ILO Recommendation 205 on Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience, adopted in June this year by the International Labour Conference. The instrument is at the crossroads of humanitarian, peacebuilding, disaster response and development initiatives, providing new and updated guidance on how to promote jobs and decent work opportunities in response to crises arising from conflict and disasters.

With a focus on prevention, recovery and reconstruction, resilience and a strong gender and youth perspective, the Recommendation offers a unique platform for discussions on the issues affecting young people in fragile situations. The event led to a vivid discussion and consensus around the idea that youth unemployment must not necessarily lead to violence and extremism.

Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, pointed out that employment for youth is not enough. “Youth must also be able to fight for their rights at the workplace and be heard,” she said.

On this note, Azita Berar Awad, Director of the ILO Employment Policy Department, added that “the Global Initiative is a unique coalition of stakeholders that can effectively catalyze actions and tackle the youth employment challenge with concrete and enhanced action across key thematic priorities.”

In closing, Guy Ryder echoed the importance of recognizing youth as active agents and supporting their role in building and sustaining peace and fostering development.

“The issues at stake here are extraordinarily complex and all the voices we heard today, all the institutions and experiences we have brought together will help to effectively deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.