105th Session of the International Labour Conference

ILO Director General opening remarks to the World of Work Summit

Déclaration | 9 juin 2016
Madam President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to this dialogue on Decent Jobs for Youth.

Thanks in particular to our distinguished panellists and moderator for being here today.

We are all here because of a shared concern about the situation of the millions of young women and men around the world who are finding it extremely hard to get a decent job. For many of them their present and future lies in the informal economy.

I think you all know the statistics and will hear more about them as the morning goes on.

As I said last year in my report on the Future of Work, the work experience of individuals in society must be a major building block of our understanding of the world of work.

Yet what message is there for young people in the widespread persistence of poverty among youth? What are the consequences for society when young people see no prospects for a better future?

We know that investing today in the employment of young people means investing in the present and future of our societies. And sustainable development needs to be about the quantity and quality of jobs.

In 2012 ILO constituents made a Call for Action on youth employment and you asked for ILO leadership.

As you know, we have responded. In many member States, youth employment is and has been a top priority for our collaboration. We have been working from the global level to the G20 and regional levels, to technical assistance with our constituents at the national level to move youth employment up the agenda and propose practical action to get more decent jobs for youth.

Most recently, in the UN the ILO has taken a lead role in designing and taking forward the UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth launched in February this year. It is founded on expanded and efficient partnerships both nationally and internationally with a multi-pronged, coherent and context-specific approach. It is an opportunity to join forces and to scale up action and impact through effective, innovative and evidence-based interventions.

The Initiative is built on four integrated pillars - ACTION, ALLIANCE, KNOWLEDGE and RESOURCES. It provides a unique template for collective UN partnership, to support member States’ efforts to implement the youth employment objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Since the launch the ILO along with six other UN agencies has been working at country and regional levels to make the Initiative operational.

We are exploring concrete measures to:
  • promote green jobs for youth,
  • support young people in rural areas, and
  • enhance digital skills among youth. Including those affected by conflict and migration.
So we’ve come with renewed energy and determination to this Summit: for youth and with youth. We are energized by the creativity and resilience of young people.

We look forward to the ideas coming from this dialogue.

Thank you.