| March 31, 2005
Two major youth employment initiatives have joined forces to improve the economic prospects for young people around the world. EDC’s Youth Employment Summit (YES) Campaign and the inter-agency Youth Employment Network (YEN) led by the United Nations, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Bank have launched a collaborative, international effort to harness the energy of partners and affiliates to increase employment and improve job development efforts for millions of youth.
The partnership between YES and YEN seeks to “develop and implement strategies that give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work.” Through the in-country co-operation of their affiliates and partners, YEN and YES are focusing their initial collaborative efforts on increasing the participation of young people in the development and implementation of National Action Plans on youth employment in eleven lead countries. The countries involved in the collaboration are Azerbaijan, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Sri Lanka. The YES-YEN collaboration brings the work of both government and civil society closer together while keeping the focus on youth.
The ILO estimates that around 88.2 million young women and men are unemployed throughout the world, accounting for 47 percent of the 185.9 million unemployed persons globally, and many more young people are working long hours for low pay, struggling to earn a living. Additionally, young people actively seeking to participate in the world of work are two to three times more likely to find themselves unemployed. Recognizing these and other issues surrounding youth employment, the United Nations has made the issue part of their Millennium Development Goals and is collaborating with EDC’s YES Campaign on a global youth employment initiative.
YEN, launched by the UN Secretary General in partnership with the World Bank and the ILO (the latter hosting the Secretariat) aims to tackle the issue of youth employment at the global, national and local level. Through a mandate provided by two UN General Assembly Resolutions, the YEN is assisting member states in the development of National Action Plans on youth employment, ensuring the specific involvement of young people.
YES is a decade long campaign (2002–2012) that was launched at the Alexandria Summit (September 2002) by 1600 delegates from 120 countries as a civil society movement for youth employment. EDC has been incubating this effort aimed at empowering youth to create sustainable livelihoods. YES has created multi-stakeholder networks led by youth in 70 countries that work towards creating entrepreneurial culture and employment opportunities for youth at the grassroots level.