With so many youth either jobless or “working poor,” more investment is needed to empower them through skills development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on World Youth Skills Day today.
“There is no better investment than helping a young person to develop their abilities,” he said in his message on the Day. “Successful skills programmes link young people with opportunities to gain experience and jobs. It is especially critical to cultivate girls and young women with skills in science, technology and innovation.”
Today's world has the largest generation of youth in history. Mr. Ban has made youth issues a priority, including by appointing the first-ever Youth Envoy to serve as a liaison between the UN and the world's young people.
Today, more than 73 million young people are unemployed, making them three times more likely than adults to be out of work, and too many youth in developing countries are trapped into “working poverty” stemming from the irregularity of jobs, meaning they toil but their income falls under a poverty line.
“Young people are understandably searching for the financial security, personal satisfaction and sense of purpose that come from meaningful employment,” Mr. Ban said, adding that the visionary 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for substantially increasing the number of youth with the skills they need for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
Empowering young people through skills development strengthens their capacity to help address the many challenges facing society, including poverty, injustice and violent conflict, he said, citing the UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth , which brings together the UN system, governments, businesses, academic institutions, youth organizations and other partners to scale up action and impact in this area.
On this Day, “let us renew our resolve to invest more in empowering young people,” Mr. Ban said. “When we do, they can better advance the broader mission of the United Nations for lasting peace, sustainable development and human rights for all,” he added.