Ballooning Youth Unemployment may post threat to Stable Development in Asia

ILO/Japan Tripartite Meeting on Youth Employment in Asia and the Pacific warns that ballooning youth unemployment threatens to undermine stable development in Asia, unless urgent action is taken.

Press release | BANGKOK | 25 February 2002

BANGKOK (ILO News): - Ballooning youth unemployment threatens to undermine stable development in the Asia Pacific region, unless urgent action is taken now, the ILO has warned.

On the eve of a major regional meeting, ILO experts say that youth unemployment already stands at an unprecedented 66 million worldwide, and the global situation is deteriorating. Underemployment is making the situation worse, in both developed and developing countries, with vast numbers of young people working much less than their capacities would permit. Youth unemployment and underemployment are linked with social problems such as crime, vandalism and drugs, and perpetuate a vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion. By 2010, the global youth population is expected to grow by 116 million, or 11 per cent, reaching almost 1.2 billion – with two thirds of this growth in the Asia and Pacific region (in terms of absolute numbers). Young people already make up more than 40 per cent of the world’s total unemployed.

H.E. Ms. Ladawan Wongsriwong, Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Welfare, Thailand, will open the ILO Japan Tripartite Regional Meeting on Youth Employment in Asia and the Pacific at 9.00am on Wednesday 27 February, at the UN Conference Centre. The meeting will bring together government, employer and worker representatives from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Hong Kong, China. A panel of young people from Thailand will lead the discussion on the first morning, describing their personal experiences searching for work.

The meeting is linked with a high level policy initiative on youth unemployment launched by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and bringing together the UN, the ILO and the World Bank. Participants will review the results of country studies, and discuss project proposals designed to tackle youth joblessness at the national level.

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend the opening ceremony and the meeting: an OPENING PRESS CONFERENCE IS SCHEDULED FOR 9.45AM WEDNESDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2002. The meeting will be held at the UN Conference Centre, Conference Room 3; the press conference in the Theatre Room.