NEWTON, MA | May 1, 2004
More than 1,000 participants from around the world are expected at a global summit on youth employment in October, a meeting organized by EDC’s Youth Employment Summit (YES) Campaign. The meeting will be held October 4-7 in Veracruz, Mexico.
The gathering, which will be hosted by the Mexican Government, follows an international summit in Egypt (2002) and a regional summit in India (2003). The YES campaign works with governments, businesses, civil groups, and youth groups to alert leaders to the global crisis in youth employment. More than one billion young people are in the labor market today, and many countries around the world are insufficiently prepared to address the needs of youth and the capacity of both rural and urban communities to accommodate them, according to YES director Poonam Ahluwalia.
The YES Campaign is working to ensure two essential goals: To build the capacity of young people to create sustainable livelihood and to establish an entrepreneurial culture where young people will work towards self-employment
“The YES Campaign has vigorously put youth employment on the agenda, and the Mexican Government supports the campaign’s efforts,” says Cristian Castaño, Director of the Mexican Youth Institute. “The people who will gather in Mexico represent an opportunity for the various strands of thinking in development economics to come together in a rare inter-generational atmosphere of exchange and learning.”
Entrepreneurship is a key focus of this year’s conference, notes Ahluwalia. “Rural youth are moving to the cities where there are few and poorly paid informal sector jobs for urban migrants. We need to try and reverse this by investing in rural communities.” Likewise, she adds, “graduates of schools and universities are languishing without decent work for years after graduation. We can ease the transition to work with targeting mentoring and entrepreneurship programs.” Other issues on the agenda are renewable energy, HIV/AIDS, and youth participation in civic affairs.
In 2002, YES launched the decade-long Campaign of Action at its international conference in Egypt. About 1,800 participants from 140 countries attended. A year later, in Hyderabad, India, 600 delegates from 45 countries launched the Hyderabad Blueprint, a call for heightened cooperation between stakeholders in meeting the challenge of youth employment. In addition to its comprehensive action-oriented conferences, YES encourages the formation of YES Country Networks, which now operate in more than 60 counties. The networks bring together youth organizations with governments, NGOs, the private sector, and academic and training institutions to develop programs and policies to provide youth with opportunities for creating livelihoods.
Youth development practitioners, government officials, business leaders, youth leaders, and NGOs and others are welcome at the event and can find out more, as well as register online, at http://www.yesweb.org/events_mexico.htm