The Youth Employment Network (YEN) was created within the framework of the Millennium Summit, the largest meeting of Heads of State and Government in history, held at the United Nations in September 2000. It was here that world leaders resolved to “develop and implement strategies that give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work” – a commitment that was translated into the Millennium Development Goals, both as a target in its own right and as a key contribution to meeting the other goals. The Secretary-General invited the ILO and the World Bank to join with the United Nations in an inter-agency partnership aimed at addressing the global challenge of youth employment.
The YEN seeks to share best practice on youth employment between countries and to link political commitments to technical results. Countries, with the support of the partner institutions and other specialized agencies are encouraged to take stock of past national policies, prepare National Action Plans (NAPs) on youth employment and compare progress with that of their peers.
For the partner institutions, this process likewise offers an opportunity to look back and assess their own progress in contributing to global efforts to achieve higher levels of employment and an improved quality of life for young people. All three organizations have a long history of activity in this field.
Two major initiatives of the YEN have been the establishment of a high-level panel to prepare a set of policy recommendations on youth employment policy and the launch of a Youth Consultative Group, which works to represent the concerns of young people on the functioning and strategic priorities of the YEN whilst supporting youth participation in the development, implementation and review of youth employment policies at the country level.