24 January 2003


WE THE PARTICIPANTS in the first Youth Employment Summit (YES 2002), meeting at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Alexandria Egypt, hereby reaffirm our profound commitment to a decade-long global campaign for the creation of hundreds of millions of additional opportunities for sustainable livelihoods for youth all over the world. A paradigm shift on Employment is needed. Quality is as important as the quantity of jobs created. The poor, living on less than a dollar a day, cannot be locked into a life of deprivation. We must move from unskilled to skilled occupations, from low paying to high paying jobs, from subsidized public employment to sustainable productive livelihoods.

WE RECOGNIZE that these goals can only be met if all actors agree to address a number of important issues: peace, fair trade, market access, technology transfer, capital flows and poverty eradication. This will require redoubled efforts from the entire international community, and donors must meet their commitments and give special attention to projects and programs for youth employment. Convergence and greater synergies between different initiatives and programs dealing with youth employment will benefit youth.

While national governments have a special responsibility for according overriding priority to youth employment and for creating the necessary policy framework, we recognize that all segments of society must collaborate to empower youth to become the artisans of their own future.

TO THAT END, we engage ourselves to support vigorous action in each of the following areas:

Employability: To ensure access for all youth to appropriate education and training followed by adequate support during the transition to work, regardless of their location or background. We cannot confront the challenges of tomorrow with yesterday's skills. Educational institutions must show unprecedented imagination and vision, using new tools for new times. They must impart marketable skills, promote self-esteem and shape a worldview that embraces the new, opens up to the other, and rises to the challenge of the untried.

Employment Creation: To adopt those policies that will encourage job-led economic growth, reduce the bias towards capital, and foster the institutional structures that can provide the advantages of scale at both the production and marketing phases of micro-enterprises supported by micro-credit. The corporate sector has a major responsibility in supporting micro-enterprises and self-employed youth through mechanisms of franchising, outsourcing and buy-back arrangements.

Equity: To provide equal opportunities for all to realize their full potential. Education, health and nutrition are fundamental rights for all. Special attention must be given to the needs of the disabled, the rural, and the marginalized groups in society, and above all, to young women,whether in education or when entering the labor force for the first time, and who in many parts of the world still suffer from discriminatory barriers. No society has truly advanced by depriving itself of the talents and abilities of half of its population.

Entrepreneurship: To engender the special creativity of youthful entrepreneurs, who see social and economic opportunities where others only see problems. Entrepreneurs, whether they are working in the villages or in the capital markets, are the visionaries who generate livelihoods for themselves and for others. We need to encourage, nurture and support their quest for the new and the untried.

Environmental Sustainability: To seek sustainable employment opportunities based on attention to water, land, energy, the atmosphere, biodiversity and eco-system management. It would be shortsighted to destroy our environment in the quest for transient employment opportunities.

Empowerment: To harness the uncommon opportunities of the ICT revolution to include the excluded and reach the unreached in terms of knowledge and skill empowerment. The whole constellation of institutional arrangements from credit to resource-use, from marketing to connectivity and content, must be structured in a way that empower youth in their quest for sustainable livelihoods.

WE RECOGNIZE that solutions to problems must be homegrown and responsive to the particular socio-cultural and economic context. But we can all learn from the experiences of others, and derive strength from our common purpose. Thus national campaigns through the YES Country Networks must be embedded into a global campaign that will help share knowledge and experience. The Global Knowledge Resource of the campaign should help make the best practices of the few into the common practices of the many.

The cost of inaction on the issues of youth employment are too dreadful to contemplate. We must act now to start the process of creating this better future. We shall act now and in the future.

The goals are inspiring, but the tasks are enormous. To those who ask, can it be done? We say with youth organizations and networks spearheading this global campaign... YES!

It can be done. It must be done. It will be done!

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