United Nations Economic and Social Council

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1 Youth Movements: Protest! Power! Progress? United Nations Economic and Social Council Youth Unemployment Director: Lucas Marin Assistant Director: Alyssa Pilch

2 CJMUNC Highland Park Model United Nations/Congress(HPMUNC) This document was created solely for the use of Central Jersey Model United Nations and Congress (CJMUNC) Other uses are not permitted without explicit permission from HPMUNC. Please contact us at

3 CJMUNC INDEX POLICY DILEMMA. 3 CHRONOLOGY. 3 ACTORS AND INTERESTS 4 CAUSES..4-5 PROJECTIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 5-6 GOALS FOR COMMITTEE.6 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS.7 BIBLIOGRAPHY....8

4 CJMUNC Policy Dilemma Unemployment is defined as the inability to find a job despite being available to work and having taken active steps to find work. Youth unemployment applies specifically to fifteen to twenty four year-olds, a range designated by the United Nations. The youth unemployment rate is the number of unemployed persons within this age range expressed as a percentage of the youth labor force. Such definitions have been sources of controversy in the past, largely due to the fact that the age range included is designed to encompass individuals transitioning from adolescence and schooling to adulthood. However, the ages of individuals experiencing this transition tends to vary from country to country, making it hard to apply one set range. In addition, the definition of the word unemployment has become controversial over the years due to its inability to encompass all the individuals who are out of work, such as those who are deemed inactive in the search for a job. These discrepancies have made it difficult to pass legislation and take action that appropriately address the issue for all populations ( Unemployment ). Chronology Global Financial Crisis (2008): In 2008, the world economy faced its most extreme crisis since the Great Depression. With this decline in the global economy, governments and employers alike felt the weight of the crash. Worry discouraged employers from hiring new personnel that they could not pay. This left youth, new to the workforce, with incredibly few job opportunities (Ortiz). Youth Protest in the Arab Spring (2011): Low economic and political opportunities for the youth in the region remain a major concern. In Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Tunisia, around 40 percent of demonstrators taking part in protests that year were aged between 18 and 20. Almost half were students and 75 percent were unemployed or working part-time (Ortiz). 15-M Movement in Spain (2011): This movement was led by youth populations in Spain who were worried about the security of their future. With this anger, a movement was born on social networks such as Real Democracy NOW (Ortiz).

5 CJMUNC Actors and Interests Youth Populations and Families In many countries, families work together to support each other with each person s income playing a key role in supporting the entire family. This is especially the case for families that live near or below the poverty line. Therefore, when young members of the family are unemployed, it takes a major toll on the family as a whole. To maximize familial income, young and able-bodied members must be able to acquire the skill sets they need in order to find jobs in the workforce. When work in the normal workforce is scarce, young people tend to turn towards illegal or unhealthy methods of earning money, such as drug trade or prostitution ( Global Youth Unemployment: World ). Employers Employers are individuals who are tasked with hiring youth populations. Employers maintain certain standards of skills for the workers they hire. Therefore, it is crucial that such skills are determined and brought to the attention any youth who seek employment. This will not only maximize their chances of being hired, but will also improve the quality of work performed for the employers ( Global Youth Unemployment: World ). Education Systems Education systems are crucial to the issue of youth unemployment because they shape the students that will eventually enter the workforce. If an education system suffers from inefficiencies, the level of skill development and basic knowledge of the students will suffer, and they will experience difficulty when finding a job. Education systems vary from region to region and country to country. Such specificity results from geographical and cultural differences that require unique approaches. Beyond differing systems, some students may opt to leave school because they must work to earn wages to support themselves and their families ( Global Youth Unemployment: United Nations ). Possible Causes The Gap Between Education and Application Arguably, youth unemployment results from a gap between education--content learned in school--and application of skills in the working world. Even after years of mandatory education, students still leave school lacking many skills necessary to succeed. In some countries, quality of

6 CJMUNC education also plays a factor in the ability of students to acquire these skill sets. Young people, new to the workforce, possess little real world experience. In many cases, their only experience is their education. The lack of development of real working skills in schooling has contributed greatly to the issue of youth unemployment ( Main Actors ). Employer Preference Younger individuals who are new to the workforce often do not possess the skills that employers look for in hirees. This has left a significant portion of the world s youth unemployed. In conjunction with economic crises and the lack of sufficient job creation in recent years, job market competition has become worse than ever. This has created almost a perfect storm of reasons why young individuals are not able to acquire jobs when attempting to enter the workforce. More than ever, there is a need to bridge the gap between education and real-world skill development in order to make younger individuals more appealing and practical for hire by the world s employers ( Main Actors ). Strict Labor Regulations and Practices Many rules and regulations exist to provide job security for workers. Despite the protections securities provide for workers, they impose burdens on employers who, in turn, shy away from hiring more than a minimum number of employees. Labor regulations make it challenging to fire personnel, creating incentives to implement temporary working positions such as internships. These temporary positions persist as the predominant form of work among youth. However, these positions are considered low level and often lack the benefits of job security. Temporaries are usually the first to go when it comes to layoffs and downsizing, leaving many young people unemployed as well ( Global Youth Unemployment: World ). Projections and Implications Productivity Loss Because some youth are not able to amass the necessary skills to enter the workforce before working age, their lifetime earnings see a very significant decrease in comparison to those who were steadily employed. Clearly, the years of one s youth can be crucial for earnings. How an individual fairs upon initially entering the workforce can set the stage for their future earnings. Therefore, it is crucial that working-age youth avoid initial periods of unemployment that only reduce their chances of future employment. Lack of work experience and reduced earnings make it harder for youth to catch up to their consistently-employed peers. Such failure to establish

7 CJMUNC themselves upon reaching working age causes many individuals to migrate to new places or countries in the search of work ( Main Actors ). Higher Rates of Youth Incarceration and Mortality In the absence of education and/or unemployment, young people spend their time elsewhere. If they cannot earn money in a legal way, circumstances force a young person to resort to illegal activities such as drugs and gangs. This situation results in increased youth incarceration and mortality rates ( Global Youth Unemployment: World ). Rise in Political Unrest By the same token, when young people have time on their hands, they have been known to incite civil unrest. Provoked by disenfranchisement through unemployment, many young people turned to protest in order to express their anger with the system that has kept them jobless. Riots and protests similarly engulfed a number of European and North American cities, including Spain, France, and the United Kingdom between 2008 and During the course of 2011, four regimes--tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen--in the Arab World fell in the wake of the protests led by young people ( Main Actors ). Goals for Committee As part of this committee, delegates should seek comprehensive solutions that consider the interests of youth while recognizing the effects of employer preference and the education-application gap. Through the development of this resolution, delegates will gain both a better understanding of the topic and what it means to be take part in a youth movement.

8 CJMUNC Discussion Questions 1. How can education play a role in reducing youth unemployment? 2. What is the role of familial financial status in the youth unemployment? What might be done to address this correlation? 3. What can be done or has been done to incentivize employers to hire youth? 4. What is the extent of the government s power to influence an employer s decision to hire youth? 5. Where do pre-existing rules and regulations place countries in terms of employment policy? How does this affect solutions proposed in relation to youth employment?

9 CJMUNC Works Referenced Unemployment - Youth Unemployment Rate - OECD Data. The OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2017, data.oecd.org/unemp/youth-unemployment-rate.htm. Main Actors: United Nations. Youthpolicy.org, Youth Policy, 3 Feb. 2017, Global Youth Unemployment Is on the Rise Again. United Nations, United Nations, 25 Aug. 2015, Global Youth Unemployment Is on the Rise Again. World Employment and Social Outlook 2016: Trends for Youth: Global Youth Unemployment Is on the Rise Again, International Labor Organization, 24 Aug. 2016, Ortiz, Esther. The Global Youth Unemployment Crisis: the Great Challenge of Our Time (along with Climate Change). Equal Times, Equal Times, 15 Dec. 2017,

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