For All Generations
From the 5-9th of March, the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) took place in Doha, Qatar. The 46 least developed countries (LDCs) comprise about 14% of the global population, and are some of the poorest and most vulnerable economies in the world. This Conference provided an opportunity to accelerate sustainable development in the places where international assistance is needed the most - and to tap the full potential of the Least Developed Countries to make progress on the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
During this Conference there was a special Youth Forum to provide a platform for young people from LDCs to discuss development issues that affect them – including educational and skills capacity building, health, employment, climate change, peace and security, human rights and migration. The Forum also provided an opportunity for young people to share their solutions, actions and impact. Especially forcibly displaced youth face specific challenges when it comes to accessing education and employment opportunities.
Therefore, during this Youth Forum the ILO (under the aegis of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth) organized a special event “Decent Jobs for Forcibly Displaced Youth in LDCs”, to address the specific needs and challenges of forcibly displaced and host community youth in LDCs, in order to promote their inclusion and social and economic integration, and to prevent further marginalization.
The PROSPECTS Partnership
The Ambassador for Youth, Education, and Work – Jurriaan Middelhoff – participated in this event to present some of the socio-economic challenges young people in these contexts face and what needs to be done to improve the employment prospects of forcibly displaced youth and help them build a future. Furthermore, he presented how the government of the Netherlands is supporting forcibly displaced and host community youth from and in LDCs to access decent work opportunities. One of the programmes through which the Netherlands supports young people is the PROSPECTS Partnership.
Through the PROSPECTS Partnership, the Government of the Netherlands is financing a four-year programme that builds on the combined strengths, experience and values of the IFC, the ILO, the UNHCR, UNICEF, the World Bank. With a focus on eight countries , three of which are LDCs (Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda), PROSPECTS aims to improve the access of host communities and forcibly displaced people to employment and livelihood opportunities. A new initiative within PROSPECTS entitled “Advancing Young People’s Engagement and Meaningful Participation in the PROSPECTS Partnership” is empowering and meaningfully engaging young people in forced displacement contexts so that they develop their skills and confidence to lead socio-economic and cultural activities, start an enterprise, address protection concerns, volunteer in their communities, advocate on issues that are important to them, and provide input to programming, including PROSPECTS.
Meaningful Youth Engagement
Equipping these young people with relevant skills, supporting their access to capital, and linking them to decent work opportunities can help them overcome some of the hurdles posed by their experiences of displacement and build a life for themselves and their families. Equally important is providing these young people with avenues to voice their opinions and concerns, provide inputs into policies and programmes, and participate in decision-making processes. Policies and programmes that aim to boost the labour market outcomes of these young people and promote their socio-economic inclusion while ensuring we work for and with youth is essential to promoting social justice and building a brighter future for all.
Jurriaan highlighted that “the Netherlands’ believes in the importance of Meaningful Youth Engagement. Not only because it is a human right, but because we learned that it improves our policies and programmes by making them more sustainable and contextually relevant.” This is why we collaborate with the members of our own Youth Advisory Committee, consisting of 10 young members from the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, MENA region and the Netherlands. Furthermore, we really try to guide our organizations’ mind-shift towards the co-creation of interventions with and for young people. Within our own ministry, we have developed and launched a MYP toolkit and an e-course to support departments within the Ministry, as well as Embassies, in advancing MYP within our own policies and programmes.
The NLs also endorsed the IASC Youth Guidelines to inform our way of working with youth as partners in humanitarian settings and protracted crises. Jurriaan ended by stating that “let’s keep learning from each other and let’s ensure that we keep young people, and especially youth on the move, at the heart of our work.”
The event brought together panelists from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Microsoft Philanthropies, Silatech and Qatar University, and convened the young change-makers from LDCs who are participating in the LDCV conference, ILO constituents, UN entities, the private sector, and partners of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.
The outcome of the Youth Forum is the adoption of the Youth Declaration, titled “For All Generations”. Facilitated by the International Committee Meeting of Youth Organisations (ICMYO) and the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY), the Youth Declaration is the result of a series of consultations with as many young people as possible from the Least Developed Countries to represent their vision and initiative and was later presented to the political leaders at the summit.
In Doha, the Embassy of the Netherlands also organized a diner on youth participation and climate change for Qatari youth and youth organizations with the Dutch Vice-Minister and the Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work.