Young farm workers in Ghana<br/>Photo: © sicrump (flickr)

Young farm workers in Ghana
Photo: © sicrump (flickr)

UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth

The new UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth is a partnership with governments, the UN system, businesses, academic institutions, youth organisations and other groups that aims to improve the employment opportunities for young people in agriculture and the rural economy.

A new initiative which includes a focus on promoting decent employment opportunities for young people in agriculture and the rural economy, called the UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, was launched in February 2016

Under the lead of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Initiative was developed by 19 international organisations that are committed to increasing the impact of youth employment policies and expanding country-level action on decent jobs for young women and men.

Globally, young people account for approximately 24 percent of the working poor -- this dynamic is particularly pronounced in Africa, where over 70 percent of youth subsist on USD 2 per day or less. Of the estimated 200 million unemployed people in 2014, 37 per cent (or 73 million) were between the ages of 15 and 24.

A new generation of food producers needs to emerge

The new UN Global Initiative aims to address the prevailing high levels of youth unemployment by scaling up action across the UN system and in all sectors of the global economy.

To date, in many parts of the world employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young women and men remain limited, poorly remunerated and of poor quality, particularly for those living in economically stagnant rural areas of developing countries.

Today, most of the world's food is produced by ageing smallholder farmers in developing countries, while a new generation of food producers needs to emerge and have access to new approaches and technologies needed to feed the planet's growing world population while protecting the environment.

A new partnership to support young people

The UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth is a partnership with governments, the UN system, businesses, academic institutions, youth organisations and other groups to scale-up action to create new opportunities and avenues for quality employment in the global economy and assist young people in developing the skills needed to compete in today’s job market.

The Initiative is based on several guiding principles, including respect for human rights, the promotion of gender equality and the application of international labour standards and other relevant UN normative frameworks. It also seeks to promote investment to improve young people's education and skills.

More specifically, the Initiative will:

• Engage key stakeholders and world leaders in high-level policy action on youth employment;
• Expand and scale up national and regional policies and interventions on youth employment;
• Pool existing expertise and enhance knowledge on what works for youth employment; and
• Leverage resources from existing facilities while also mobilising additional resources.

More information

(FAO/ILO/ile)

Read more: Rural 21, Vol. 44 Nr. 3/2010: "Rural youth - to stay or not to stay?"