CALGARY, 12 August, 2016–United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Werner Faymann of Austria, as his Special Envoy on Youth Employment.
This appointment comes at a time when persistently high levels of youth unemployment, poor quality and low paying jobs remain a concern globally.
Young people are disproportionately affected by unemployment, underemployment, vulnerable employment and working poverty. At present, over 73 million youth are unemployed and young people remain three times more likely than older adults to experience unemployment. The situation has been exacerbated by the lingering effects of the global financial and economic crisis, with declining numbers of youth able to find decent work. In developing countries, underemployment in the informal economy and working poverty remain the biggest employment challenges facing youth.
According to the International Labour Organization, an estimated 475 million jobs would need to be created over the next decade to absorb the youth currently unemployed and provide job opportunities for the 40 million labour market entrants – mostly young people – each year.
The appointment will bolster existing work to address key youth employment challenges, in particular that of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, launched in February 2016. This initiative brings together governments, the United Nations system, businesses, social partners, parliamentarians, academia, and youth organizations to scale up action of youth employment interventions in the global economy and their impact. The Special Envoy will also help support the realization of employment-related goals and actions under the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Youth, and youth employment targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Special Envoy will work closely with the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth to complement the broader United Nations efforts on youth development and to promote the active participation of youth, youth-led and youth-focused organizations in the achievement of employment-related Sustainable Development Goals.
“The United Nations Special Envoy on Youth Employment will be a strong advocate in tackling key youth employment challenges, raising the profile of such challenges and calling for action at all levels” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “It is vital that we bolster our efforts in enhancing opportunities for decent work for youth across the board – the success of our Sustainable Development Agenda depends on it.”
The appointment of Mr. Faymann, Austrian Chancellor and Chairman of the Social Democratic Party from 2008 to 2016, reflects his long-standing and proactive role in promoting opportunities for young people in the labour market in Austria, for example through vocational training and workshops to enhance the job qualifications of youth.