ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

273rd Session
Geneva, November 1998

Committee on Employment and Social Policy



Effect to be given to the resolution
concerning youth employment, adopted
by the Conference at its 86th Session (1998)

1. At its 86th Session (1998), the International Labour Conference adopted a resolution concerning youth employment. The resolution provides guidelines to member States and to employers' and workers' organizations on the design and implementation of policies to address youth employment policy issues. The conclusions include a call for an international strategy for youth employment.

2. The Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-2001(1) include a proposal for an Action Programme that is a direct response to the resolution, particularly its conclusions 2(a), 2(e) and 2(f) which call on the Governing Body to accord high priority to youth employment and to instruct the Director-General to make provision in the programme and budget proposals for creating a database and for the dissemination of information on youth employment.

3. Conclusion 2(b) calls on the Governing Body to consider including, as soon as possible, an item for general discussion on the issue of youth employment in the agenda of the International Labour Conference. The document on the portfolio submitted to the Governing Body at its present session includes proposals concerning youth employment.(2)

4. As regards other aspects of the resolution, the ILO contributed to the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth in Lisbon, Portugal on 8-12 August, 1998. The main outcome of the Conference was the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes. The Declaration recognizes in its Preamble "the urgency of creating more and better jobs for young women and men and the central role of youth employment in facilitating the transition from school to work, thereby reducing crime and drug abuse and ensuring participation and social cohesion". In the section on employment, signatories to the Declaration committed themselves, inter alia, to affirming the ultimate societal goal of full employment; promoting equal employment opportunities and providing protection against discrimination; promoting research on youth unemployment, as well as taking effective measures to eliminate the worst forms of child labour and providing support to the ILO in developing a Convention for its elimination.

5. Based on the results of the Action Programme on Youth Unemployment during the 1996-97 biennium, a detailed comparative report on national policies and experience will shortly be completed and disseminated, which will address issues relevant to paragraph 1 of the resolution.

6. The World Employment 1998-99 report includes a section on training and labour market policies to counter youth unemployment. Several other parts of the report have relevance to the conclusions of the resolution.

7. Youth employment will be included in the agenda of the International Consultation concerning Follow-up on the World Summit for Social Development, to be held in November 1999, as well as the proposed World Employment Forum in 2000.

8. The ILO is seeking cooperation with workers' and employers' organizations on youth employment, and particularly with the programmes of the International Organization of Employers and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

9. The Governing Body may wish to request the Director-General --

(a) to bring the conclusions to the attention of member States and employers' and workers' organizations;

(b) to take account of the resolution when preparing future ILO activities.

Geneva, 2 October 1998.

Point for decision: Paragraph 9.


Resolution concerning youth employment

The General Conference of the International Labour Organization,

Noting the terms of the Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122), the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), and the Human Resources Development Convention, 1975 (No. 142),

Noting that the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in March 1995 reaffirmed, inter alia, the ILO's leadership role in the promotion of full, freely chosen and productive employment,

Reaffirming the importance and relevance of ILO standards for the successful promotion of youth employment and the need to ensure that young workers fully enjoy the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining and protection against forced labour and discrimination, as defined in the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) and any other form of discrimination covered by national law and practice,

Recalling the ILO's Action Programmes on Youth Unemployment,

Noting the difficulties caused for many countries by structural adjustment programmes for economic growth and their potential to provide education, training and employment opportunities for young people,

Noting that employment opportunities for young people are often part time, casual, temporary and insecure,

Aware that in many countries young people, particularly between the ages of 15 and 24, are finding it increasingly difficult to enter the labour market and that this constitutes not only a threat to social peace but also an obstacle to the development of the individual and to that of society as a whole,

Recognizing that youth unemployment is one dimension of the general and widespread problem of unemployment and underemployment and a reflection of an unfavourable economic situation which cannot be resolved without a global increase in economic growth and employment,

Recognizing for every country the importance of ready access to education and training for young people,

Considering that the creation of sustainable employment opportunities depends upon governments, involving the social partners as appropriate, creating the right conditions for a competitive and viable private sector, an efficient and effective public sector and active labour market policies,

Recognizing that social progress and economic growth should go hand in hand and that globalization, such as international trade and foreign direct investment has the potential to create high-quality jobs and training opportunities for young people,

Considering that employment cannot be directly created by legislation or regulations alone and considering that they are necessary to provide employment protection, particularly for young people,

Considering further that education, be it public or private, as well as vocational training and apprenticeships, play an important role in enabling young people to enter the labour market and embark upon their adult life;

1. Calls upon member States and, where appropriate, employers, workers and their respective organizations to:

(a) implement a balanced economic growth strategy;

(b) consider new and innovative policies and programmes to create employment opportunities for young people;

(c) increase investment in basic education targeted at improving the quality of education and access to further and higher education for disadvantaged categories of young people;

(d) take measures with the aim that, when young people leave school, they possess a general education and a balanced range of qualifications and skills which would enable them to realize their full potential and contribute to the well-being of society and the needs of the economy and enterprises;

(e) take measures with the goal that vocational training and counselling are adapted to the requirements of the labour market in order to facilitate the transition of young people from school into work and the acquisition of the generic and transferable skills required as a basis for employment and lifelong learning;

(f) encourage greater participation by employers, workers and their respective organizations in:

(g) promote and support a policy on youth that recognizes the role of education and youth organizations in developing a sense of social responsibility, initiative and cooperation;

(h) promote flexible working arrangements so that young people can avail themselves of on- and off-the-job education and training opportunities in the context of agreed workplace arrangements;

(i) identify the obstacles to hiring young people and take measures, as far as possible and desirable, to remove them while maintaining the individual's employment protection;

(j) develop a legislative and administrative framework which provides young people with employment protection;

(k) encourage enterprises to play an active role in the provision of continuous training to young employees;

(l) encourage young people and enterprises to develop more flexible attitudes towards the acquisition of new skills to meet changing needs;

(m) urge employment agencies, public and private, to assist young people more efficiently in finding employment;

(n) promote enterprise, entrepreneurship and self-employment among young people and the creation and viability of small and medium-sized enterprises as one of the major sources of employment opportunities for young people;

(o) adopt and implement policies which improve competitiveness through investment, including investment in technology, human resources development, education and skills, in order to promote economic growth, social development and employment;

(p) increase development assistance and technical cooperation for the poorer countries in order to provide education and training for young people.

2. Calls on the Governing Body of the International Labour Office to:

(a) accord high priority to youth employment when considering the Programme and Budget for 2000-2001 and subsequent biennia commensurate with the importance of the issue;

(b) consider including, as soon as possible, an item for general discussion on the issue of youth employment in the agenda of the International Labour Conference;

(c) ensure that the issue of youth employment be included in discussions at regional or subregional-level meetings, including tripartite meetings, where appropriate;

(d) ensure that ILO regional structures and multidisciplinary teams assist governments and the social partners to implement ILO policy on youth employment;

(e) instruct the Director-General, when preparing programme and budget proposals, to make provision for follow-up of the present action programme on strategies to combat youth marginalization and unemployment with a view to:

(f) instruct the Director-General to cooperate with other international bodies to promote international action on youth employment.

1. GB.273/PFA/1.

2. GB.273/2, paras. 37-50.

Updated by VC. Approved by RH. Last update: 26 January 2000.