4 April 2006

UN Seeking Accelerated Action on Job Opportunities for Growing Numbers of Unemployed

NEW YORK, 3 April (UN Headquarters) -- Concerned that impressive economic growth rates around the world are not stemming the problem of rising unemployment and underemployment, the United Nations is preparing for high-level talks this July in Geneva to find solutions to what has become a "job crisis".

In preparation for the Geneva meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), a group of highly regarded employment experts, academics, international officials, and representatives from Member States, employers and workers, will meet in New York from 4 to 5 April to examine the issues and make recommendations for the consideration of Member States.

Among the steps that would help the tens of millions of unemployed people, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), are economic and social policies that would encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in job creation.

The decision to focus on employment came after the 2005 World Summit Declaration, which stated that productive employment and decent work will have to be at the centre of economic and social policies designed to achieve the central Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015.  Countries then decided to focus the attention of the high-level segment of the ECOSOC meeting on the theme "Creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development".

There were 191.8 million unemployed people around the world in 2005, an increase of 2.2 million since 2004 and 34.4 million since 1995.  Almost half of the unemployed people in the world are young people -- a worrisome fact, given that youth make up only 25 per cent of the working-age population.  Young people are more than three times as likely as adults to be unemployed.  Recent waves of unrest among youth in some countries, including in Europe, and constant the threat faced by countries in or emerging from conflict by their inability to find work of any kind for its unemployed youth constitute a "time bomb" for the international community.

For more information or interviews, please contact Dan Shepard, Department of Public Information, United Nations at tel.:  1-212-963-9495 or by e-mail: .

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