|Friday, 14 November 2003|
Youth employment - Challenge and solutions (part 2)
(Continued from yesterday)
My government's commitment at the highest political level has been pledged for this national programme. We have committed to prepare a national review and action plan on youth employment.
Implication of the recommended policy under YEN will lead to:
* Youth Employment as an Entry Point into broader employment issues;
* Political Commitment of Government providing a space for action by non-government actors
* A new way of working for the UN system
The global priorities would be:
* Employability through investments in education and vocational training
* Equal opportunities irrespective of gender
* Entrepreneurship development, making it easier to start and run enterprises Within the framework of YEN it has been recognized that:
* Youth are an Asset- Not a problem
* Youth are partners of today- Not only tomorrow
Some statistics in relation to youth are nerve racking. There are over one Billion people who are between 15 and 25 years of age today. Nearly 40% of the world's population is under 20. 85% of the young people live in developing countries, and around 60% of young people live in Asia alone.
This amounts to over 650 Million people.
Across the globe, we all know that elections are won or lost to a great Degree based on how the youth deployment issues are handled. Most of us gathered here today, carry a time bomb in our briefcases among all policy papers.
The solution to the problem lies on our adoptability, flexibility, speed, commitment and the support that would be forthcoming from the International community and the related agencies. I should also stress the point that programmes such as YEN needs to be fine tuned according to the local environments and conditions, and would need implementation guidelines to be drawn accordingly.
YEN is fresh in my mind as it is about to be implemented in Sri Lanka. Around the globe, there are many such programmes been launched to reduce the levels of youth unemployment.
The Youth Employment Summit also known as "YES" is another initiative launched in Alexandria in September 2002, during the Alexandria summit. YES is primarily working towards establishing 2 essential goals:
* To build the capacity of young people to create sustainable livelihoods
* To establish an entrepreneurial culture, where young people will work towards self-employment.
With representation from over 120 countries at the summit, all these endeavors argue well for finding solutions to youth unemployment.
I am in favour of tripartite involvement in the design and implementation of youth employment policy. Policies and programmes are much more likely to be successful, when there is a broader base.
We need to recognize youth as one of the most precious assets that any society would have. Are we to perceive UNEMPLOYMENT as the problem?. If this is the premise, YOUTH is the obvious solution. I am confident that all of you would share my views, and together, we could make new inroads, learning from each other's experience to address an issue, that is close to our hearts concerning our future generations.
The current and future social and economic reality that we are to experience is that, adolescents are in need, and will need more support, guidance, and active involvement, than what they have been receiving, if they are to successfully navigate their lives through turbulent times in their youth. Let us galvanize our resources, to provide the craft for a smooth sailing.
Let our deliberations at this conference be a Salute to the global Youth.
Produced by Lake House