UNICEF Executive Director remarks at the session: Co-creating solutions with and for young people

19 July 2018
Children and adolescents in a Kyrgyzstan AIDS centre
UNICEF Kyrgyzstan
Children and adolescents in the AIDS centre participate in a group exercise.

NEW YORK, 17 July 2018 - UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore gives remarks at the session: Co-creating solutions with and for young people, as prepared.

"Thank you for joining us — and most of all, for being part of this important partnership to support young people.

"The Young People’s Agenda — which, as of today, we are calling Generation Now — is a new partnership to get every young person in school, training or employment by 2030.

"Young people are the future. Their ideas, energy and enthusiasm can change the world.

"We need them. But today, they need us.

"Twelve years of education…skills training…post-secondary learning… mentorships…apprenticeships…protection and support — without these basic tools, how can we expect young people to build better, more prosperous futures for themselves and be active and productive citizens? How can we expect them to contribute to their economies… to their families…to their societies?

"Especially as the world of work continues to change at a rapid and dramatic pace. New technologies require new skills. Globalization has changed — and continues to change — what kinds of jobs are available, and where they are available.

"Every country, everywhere, struggles with the best ways to prepare young people for the future.

"But in poor and disadvantaged countries — or poor and disadvantaged communities within wealthy countries — the challenge is enormous.

"There are 1.2 billion adolescents in the world — the largest cohort ever.  

"But this demographic crisis is matched by a series of related crises.

  • An education crisis — over 200 million adolescents are out of school.
  • An employment crisis — as technology and globalization continue re-writing the rules of the global economy.
  • A protection crisis — as about 246 million children experience violence, abuse and exploitation…and as millions have their educations disrupted by migration or conflict.
  • And a girls’ crisis — as girls continue to face prejudice and discrimination, child marriage, violence and early pregnancy.

"We have a duty to “follow through” on all the excellent work the world has done to improve children’s health and secure their survival in the first decade of life, by supporting their education, training and skills-development in the second decade. To help them survive and thrive.

"And do so by bringing people together from every sector to identify and scale-up cutting-edge solutions for young people.

"This is a partnership, and we’re greatly encouraged by the broad response so far, since we announced our intention and issued a call for ideas.

"Over the next two days, your task will be to help us validate an initial pool of solutions that our partners have brought to the table.

"Some examples include: online and long-distance learning for young people in remote communities…apprenticeships and internships…life-skills training, especially for girls…psychological support for conflict-affected children…empowerment opportunities for young people to build thriving, sustainable careers…and a potential new fund that will pool grants from public and private donors to fund new solutions.

"We’d also like your advice on the structure, composition and function of a secretariat, which will help us scale-up these solutions, and others that will be developed in the years ahead. For this, we’ll need your support to offer and pool resources to support these promising solutions at scale.  

"And we’ll need your help to convince governments and donors to join our cause, and turn up the volume on the needs of young people — in your meetings, through social media, and across your work.

"As we prepare for the official launch of Generation Now in September, I know we will all benefit from your ideas, expertise and advice. 

"I look forward to our discussion today — and your guidance in the years ahead as we better support today’s generation, as they prepare to shape a better world tomorrow.

"Thank you for being part of this important effort."


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