“You know, the challenge we face today is not that of the danger of us leaving youth behind. Because if we do not do what we have to do, youth will leave us behind.” Guy Ryder, International Labour Organization Director-General, said in his opening remarks at the Global Youth Employment Forum held last 1-3 August 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
Following the call for action to address the youth employment crisis and place youth development on top of national development agenda of member nations, the International Labour Organization (ILO) organized a forum where more than 200 young delegates from 65 countries have issued a call for a range of “systematic changes” in youth employment policies, noting that “business as usual is not working for youth”.
The young delegates called for macro-economic and sectoral policies that target employment – rather than just economic growth – and build resilience to climate change. The need for greater investment in access to quality education and skills development systems was also stressed. This must be complemented by tailored approaches to lifelong learning and skills certification, which utilize technology and protect the rights of those in internships and apprenticeship schemes.
Further, labour market policies should place more emphasis on job quality and targeting, so that the benefits reach young women, young people with disabilities, young migrants and refugees, young platform economy and informal sector workers, youth in the rural economy and in hazardous occupations, and those from indigenous and ethnic groups.
Speaking at the event, the ILO Director-General stressed the important role that young women and men play in identifying solutions and fostering collaboration across sectors and continents. He reaffirmed the ILO’s commitment to work with and for youth and called upon all stakeholders to build a future that meets young people’s aims and aspirations.
The Forum was hosted by the Nigerian Government and is the second of its kind, following a successful event held in Geneva in 2012, where young people from different regions and backgrounds shed light on the challenges and opportunities to foster decent work for youth.
Mr. Neil Don Orillaneda, Advocacy and Communications Assistant, represented ECOP in this Forum.