Youth voices on Science, Technology, Innovation and the Future of Work

The gathering of young people from all parts of the world at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum discussed the need for better investments in youth development.

NEW YORK – Youth leaders from around the world have called for action to improve the future of young people in the world of work. More than 700 took part in a two-day forum at UN headquarters at the annual ECOSOC Youth Forum.

As part of the debates, a group of nearly 200 participants took part in an interactive conversation – an IDEATHON - coordinated by the ILO in collaboration with ITU, UNDP, UNCTAD, UN Women, UNV, UNESCO, MGCY, and YGA, focusing on the role of science, technology and innovation in boosting youth engagement, development and resilience. The conversation linked to the work of multiple partners through the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, building on two of its thematic priorities: digital skills for youth and access to decent work for youth in fragile situations.

Young people identified four key areas of action that were presented as recommendations to the ECOSOC President and Forum participants:
1. Ensure quality and affordable access to science, technology and innovation for everybody, with a strong lens on gender equality, inclusiveness across regions, urban/rural contexts, and marginalized groups;
2. Foster education and skills development so that young people can benefit from science, technology and innovation, ensuring that skills are relevant and address the needs of young people and the demands of the labour market;
3. Foster partnerships that involve young people, governments, civil society and the private sector, for example through quality apprenticeships and leveraging big data in the public interest; and
4. Together with young people, co-create and identify common principles governing the use of science, technology and innovation taking into consideration ethical and sustainability aspects.
Held on 30 and 31 January at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the ECOSOC Youth Forum provided a platform for active youth engagement with Member States to discuss the role young women and men can play in building sustainable and resilient urban and rural communities in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

They discussed the challenges and solutions relating to the six Sustainable Development Goals that will be discussed in the upcoming High-level Segment of the ECOSOC and the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) next July. These goals cover clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption; life on land and peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnerships for the goals.
The Forum was presided over by the ECOSOC President Marie Chatardova, with the participation of the General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak, the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake.

On 29 January, ahead of the Youth Forum, the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake held a consultation with young people on the future of work at the UN Headquarters in New York. The consultation was convened to inform her work and in her capacity as a member of the Global Commission on the Future of Work – the second stage of the ILO’s Future of Work Initiative. About 100 young women and men contributed to a lively conversation facilitated by the ILO on megatrends – including technological change, the organization of work and production, and the governance of work and youth engagement. The Deputy Permanent Representatives from the missions of Sweden and Mauritius, Irina Schoulgin Nyoni and Mahammed Naguib Soomauroo, provided opening remarks and invited young people to raise their voices and continue advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. The consultation received important input from the Major Group on Children and Youth and the European Youth Forum.


  • International Labour Organization (ILO)

  • International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

  • United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

  • United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

  • United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY)

New York , United States of America

Published Date

01 February 2018