ECOSOC Youth Forum

Prospering and Thriving (SDG1 and SDG8)

Young people are navigating lost incomes, limited social protection and rising prices for essential goods and services (SDG 8) as the result of COVID-19. The impact of the pandemic will be felt for years to come as inequality has increased, major shifts in value chains are taking place and investments are lagging behind. Additional challenges exist for youth employment that are related to the rise of new technologies, including robotics and artificial intelligence. The number of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) has increased dramatically. Social protection measures, which are normally designed to help people in moments of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, rarely sufficiently address the specific needs of young people. As a result, youth worldwide are uniquely vulnerable to the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19 and can be pushed into extreme poverty (SDG 1).

Innovative financing mechanisms are needed to respond and recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Boosting the effectiveness of existing and new mechanisms to support fiscal spending on COVID-19 is essential to achieve a sustainable recovery. A positive correlation is observed with efficient use of funds and digitalization in countries in specific sectors. There is a need for broadening the existing financial mechanisms and to direct them to sectors that can boost efficient, green, resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery.

Before the pandemic the global community was not on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030, including target 8.6 to substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training by 2020. The pandemic unveiled and exacerbated the pre-existing inequalities and weaknesses and structural gaps in national and international health, economic and social systems, especially in developing countries. As a consequence, countries across the globe face increasing financing challenges, disproportionately affecting developing countries and countries in special situations that are already facing deep-rooted vulnerabilities and inequalities. Many countries are facing a decline in remittances, investments including foreign direct investments, growing sovereign debt burdens and severely reduced fiscal space. Since the start of the pandemic governments have spent close to $15 trillion to cope with its impact with developed countries spending around 80% and developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states unable to spend. Thus, solutions need to be efficient and effective to lead the global community to rebuild better. In this regard Thus, solutions need to be not only efficient and effective but lead the global community to build back better, including through demonstrated global solidarity for developing countries.

In this regard the thematic session will identify how the socio-economic COVID-19 recovery can be financed, including which sectors can yield the best response, particularly for a youth inclusive and responsive recovery. One such orientation for stimulus should be support for the 2030 Agenda induced “Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth” through policies and financing support for all its 8 strategic themes:

i. Transitions to the formal economy: moving the current majority of young workers from low paying, insecure and hazardous informal jobs to decent employment.
ii. Digital skills for youth: providing transitional skills to fill the millions of decent jobs of the future.
iii. Quality apprenticeships: providing opportunities to build experience for the job market.
iv. Youth in fragile situations: providing employment in conflict and humanitarian situations.
v. Youth in the rural economy: support transformation from low paying jobs in low productivity sectors to higher paying jobs in higher productivity sectors in rural areas.
vi. Youth entrepreneurship and self-employment: better policies and financing support for unblocking barriers to entrepreneurship and enabling young entrepreneurs to realize their ambitions.
vii. Young workers in hazardous employment

Green Jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth: young people are genuinely concerned with the environment, this provides an opportunity to address the multiple challenges of youth employment, environment preservation and climate change resilience.
The International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021 provides additional orientation for the utilization of the stimulus packages for recovery beneficial for young people. Young people use technology and digital-based innovations and their creativity to promote new lifestyles, which are more aligned with sustainability and circular economy patterns of recycling and cutting waste and pollution. Supporting the Orange economy leads to supporting youth entrepreneurship, digitalization and employment.

Investment made now to recover from the crisis will either entrenched us in the old economy or could accelerate transition to the SDGs promising a better future for youth. Young people can contribute to policy decisions aimed to respond and recover from the pandemic. These decisions, already shaping their today and tomorrow, will serve as a reference point for them and future generations to deal with upcoming epidemiological shifts and socioeconomic crises. It is important to explore how the international community could then create enabling environments that allow an inclusive and sustainable socioeconomic recovery, through intergenerational dialogue, while keeping a gender, youth-sensitive and inclusive approach to financial investments that build prosperous and just societies for everyone.


Please register via Zoom