VIENNA, 4 April 2014 – LI Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and Dullas Alahapperuma, Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development of Sri Lanka, said that youth employment was an urgent matter that should be adequately reflected in the post-2015 development agenda process.
Speaking at the G77 Plenary Discussion on mainstreaming youth in the post-2015 development agenda and promoting youth entrepreneurship for industrial development, Director General Li said: “We at UNIDO are committed to support developing countries in the ambitious endeavor towards a people-centred development agenda – an agenda that builds new and more inclusive development pathways with the aim of providing equal employment opportunities for all people, and especially women and youth.”
He added that “the views of young people, their concerns, their energies, and their courage are critical to the post-2015 development agenda process”.
The full speech of the Director General is available here
Minister Alahapperuma said: “Our young people today are the world’s foundation for a successful tomorrow. Many of them possess the inherent abilities that can be developed and supplemented with skills and capital, enabling them to become entrepreneurs. They need to be equipped with the knowhow to rise above the hardships and difficulties. In Sri Lanka, we promote our youth to possess good social skills as much as we focus on commercial and technical skills. Possessing of such skills will support mental stamina to endure the journey towards being successful in their chosen industry.”
In 2013, close to 73 million young people are estimated to have been unemployed, a figure that amounts to around 40 per cent of the world’s unemployed.
“UNIDO works towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development that promotes economic empowerment and the creation of decent jobs for youth in industry and industry-related services. Devising solutions for youth unemployment starts with a good primary education. It also requires a sound and comprehensive approach that leads to more competitive and stable economies, with rising productivity and increased trade flows,” said Director General Li.
UNIDO has a number of projects throughout the world specifically designed to promote employment and income opportunities for young people and provide them with the skills and competencies they require to be able to take advantage of these opportunities.
The Director General thanked Minister Alahapperuma and the Government of Sri Lanka for taking the lead in creating a valuable and inclusive platform for an intergenerational dialogue through the forthcoming World Conference on Youth, which will take place from 6 to 10 May in Colombo.
This year marks a significant step forward for UNIDO in its engagement with youth issues, not only as the incoming co-chair of the Inter-Agency Network but also as a leading entity in the sub-working group on youth employment and entrepreneurship.
For more information, please contact