Youth from around the world gather at the ILO to tackle job crisis

The ILO Youth Employment Forum got under way with young people from around the world discussing the promotion of decent jobs in the face of a dramatic global jobs crisis that disproportionately affects them.

News | 23 May 2012
GENEVA (ILO news) – Over 100 young trade unionists, entrepreneurs, NGO members and activists got together at the ILO Youth Employment Forum that opened today in Geneva, to discuss how best to tackle the global jobs crisis that has left 75 million youth jobless.

Carlos Cisneros, from the International Vanguard Network of Ecuador, welcomed the initiative saying that while youth employment is regularly discussed at the international level, young people are seldom involved in those discussions.

Young people are three times more likely
We need action. We need job opportunities for young people."
than adults to be jobless. Youth unemployment rates are at peak crisis levels and are not expected to drop in the next four years.

“We need action. We need job opportunities for young people”, said Suheir Tabanja, from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) at the Forum.

In 2011, more than half of young women and one third of young men aged 15 to 24 were unemployed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, according to an ILO report to the June 2012 session of the International Labour Conference (www.ilo.org/ilc).

Taking the voice of youth to the G20 and the UN

The conclusions of the discussions will be shared with the May 30-June 15 International Labour Conference, which will bring together more than 5,000 government, employer and worker delegates from the ILO’s 184 member states.

The decisions taken at the ILC will be presented at the upcoming G20 summit in June and at the UN General Assembly in September, and will help governments define their policies.

Benjamin Bouyemere, from the Youth Employment Network in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said he hoped the forum would help make “the issue of decent employment for young people a priority at the country and international levels”.

ILO Director General Juan Somavia that the challenge young people face is not easy but urged them to persevere. “What you represent is trying to change society for the better” , he told the delegates, aged 18 to 29.

The Youth Employment Forum (www.ilo.org/yef) comes on the heels of consultations on the same issue held in 46 countries and with more than 5,000 participants.