Creating job opportunities for youth is a worldwide challenge, even for developed countries. Low economic growth in many Pacific island developing countries, coupled with rapid population growth, makes the challenge even larger. In recognition of the scale of the youth employment challenge, commitments have been made by countries and development partners at various forums to address the issue of youth employment. The Millennium Development Goals target the achievement of “full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people”.
Worldwide experience has shown that fragmented and isolated interventions are not enough to overcome youth employment problems. It is clear that there is a need for sustained action by all stakeholders and the development and implementation of a coherent approach to improving employment and self-employment opportunities. It is also clear that a successful approach must include supportive policies covering an integrated strategy for economic growth and job creation as well as targeted interventions to help young people overcome the specific barriers and disadvantages they face in entering and remaining in the labour market.
National Action Plans on youth employment are a ‘tool’ that can provide a useful mechanism and a delivery vehicle for an integrated and comprehensive approach to youth employment that builds on the contribution and commitment of many stakeholders.
In the past two years, ESCAP and ILO have worked with several Pacific island developing countries to develop National Action Plans on youth employment. Draft National Action Plans have been developed by Kiribati and Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea is working towards developing a National Action Plan. Key success factors in developing a National Action Plan are involvement of all stakeholders at all stages of the Plan development and implementation; the preparation of a comprehensive situation analysis to guide identification of key youth employment issues; a sound understanding of how to develop policies, targets and indicators; and a sustained commitment by stakeholders.
A brief introduction to National Action Plans on youth employment – a presentation to a youth employment workshop in Papua New Guinea
Guide for the preparation of National Action Plans on Youth Employment (ILO, 2008)