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The UN Economic and Social Youth Forum gets young people involved in the goals of the 2030 Agenda

Friday 12th of February 2016
Juvenile Justice in the world

On Tuesday 2nd of February, the fifth United Nations Economic and Social (ECOSOC) Youth Forum closed at the UN headquarters in New York after two days of brainstorming sessions, and interactive panels and discussions with representatives of Member States and young leaders. This year, the forum focused on the role of young people in implementing, communicating and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that all UN Members States adopted last September.

The global youth employment crisis was a cornerstone of this year's Youth Forum, and it was linked to the potential of young people to be the agents for change in peace building and violence prevention. The Forum is part of the UN efforts to engage and empower young people, involving them in the decision and policy-making process.

The UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, pointed out that youth employment should be a priority because it is “a recipe that is imperative for development, as well as peace and security.” The crucial role of young people as peace builders was also recently recognized, in a unanimous decision, by the Security Council, in its December 2015 resolution 2250 on “youth, peace and security”.

It was in this manner that Mr Alhendawi welcomed the Initiative that was presented by Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO): the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth. This initiative represents a global partnership between governments, the UN, businesses, academic institutions and youth organizations, which aims to create decent jobs for youth and assist them in competing in today's job market. It is considered the first-ever UN system-wide response to tackle the global youth employment crisis.

Concerning this issue, Mr. Oh Joon, President of the ECOSOC, highlighted that unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, was a major concern in today’s world. “One of these challenges is the prevailing employment crisis young people face all across the globe,” declared Mr. Joon, when he delivered the ECOSOC’s Presidential Statement.

The Youth Forum also emphasized other key global issues such as poverty, inequality and climate change, and highlighted that young people were strong actors in the progress of the 2030 Agenda, but that they were also highly affected by its challenges. The event was the opportunity to bring up recommendations on how to tackle the 2030 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), such as creating a comprehensive and inclusive process with the youth; creating, not only jobs, but decent jobs for the young people; and improving the quality of education and training for them to be part of today's job market.

“We should aim high and we have the potential to reach ambitious goals,” Oh Joon said at the Forum’s closing ceremony, thereby showing that the Youth Forum ended with high expectations and that young people were ready to act to implement the SDGs.

The IJJO applauds the UN efforts to empower young people and create spaces for discussion of the issues that affect them, recognizing their great potential as agents of change and their responsibility for the achievement of the 2030 SDGs.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

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  • Head Office: Rue Armand Campenhout, nº 72 bte 10. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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