Over 40 per cent of the world’s economically active youth are either unemployed or have a job but live in poverty. The youth employment crisis is a stubborn reality in most countries and in all regions. It has resulted in increased vulnerability of young people, from higher unemployment and lower quality of jobs to longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions and increased detachment from the labour market.While this crisis cannot be dissociated from the overall employment deficit, youth employment is of vital importance from an economic and societal perspective and requires massive and coordinated action.

The Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youthis the first-ever, comprehensive UN system-wide effort for the promotion of youth employment worldwide. It brings together the global resources and convening power of the UN system and other key global partners to maximize the effectiveness of youth employment investments.

Developed under the leadership of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Decent Jobs for Youth envisions a world in which young women and men have greater access to decent jobs everywhere. It aims to facilitate increased impact and expanded country-level action on decent jobs for youth through multi-stakeholder partnerships, the dissemination of evidence-based policies and the scaling up of effective and innovative interventions. Decent Jobs for Youth is complementary to the UN System-wide Action Plan on Youth, and will  assist Member States in the implementation of youth employment related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Decent Jobs for Youth was launched at  Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum on 1 February 2016 by the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the ILO Director General. 

Key elements

Decent Jobs for Youth is guided by the respect for human rights, the application of international labour standards, the promotion of gender equality, and a multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral approach to ensure that youth in different contexts and situations, benefit from coordinated support. It consists of four fully integrated pillars.

Expanded and scaled up regional and country level action on decent jobs for youth

Decent Jobs for Youth is a catalyst for evidence-based action at country and regional levels, responding to respective development priorities. With the commitment of strategic regional, national and local stakeholders, and with the support of UN country teams, Decent Jobs for Youth engages a diverse set of partners on a range of different joint actions, from strengthening the policy-making process, to promoting green jobs for youth and assisting young people in their transition from the informal to the formal economy.

A strategic multi-stakeholder alliance

The alliance brings together governments, social partners, the private sector, the UN system and other multilateral organizations, parliamentarians, youth representatives, civil society, foundations, and academia. By gathering the diverse capabilities and perspectives of these and more partners, Decent Jobs for Youth creates linkages and synergies that lead to action. The alliance advocates,ensures policy convergence and coherence, stimulates innovative thinking and mobilizes resources for more and better investments in youth employment.

A knowledge facility on decent jobs for youth

A global knowledge-sharing platform captures,  analyses and disseminates best practices and innovative approaches, enhances capacity development and facilitates peer learning about what works to improve labour market outcomes for young women and men.

Funding modalities and resource mobilization

Decent Jobs for Youth advocates for high-level commitment of local, national, regional and international stakeholders to increase resources through present and future funding facilities. This enables scaling-up activities that support decent jobs for youth in the most inclusive and transparent manner.

Development of the initiative

In October 2014, the CEB’s High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) agreed that the youth employment crisis was a universal challenge to which many organizations of the UN system could contribute, and thus the Committee supported the proposal to develop and launch a global initiative on decent jobs for youth.

A time-bound inter-agency Task Team (under ILO’s lead and with the participation of FAO, ITC, ITU, UNCTAD, UNDESA, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UN-Habitat, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNRWA, UN-WOMEN, UNWTO, WIPO, the World Bank Group and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth (ex officio)) subsequently worked to devise the strategy for Decent Jobs for Youth.

The strategy was approved by HLCP in October 2015 and endorsed by CEB in November 2015.


For more information on Decent Jobs for Youth, please contact decentjobsforyouth@ilo.org.

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