Future of Work

Why we need youth at the table

Ban Ki-moon
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Future of Work?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of Work

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to hundreds of exceptional young people gathered at the Youth Forum at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The youth delegates who attended the event are part of the largest generation of youth in history. Their visit to the UN came at a crucial time for people and our planet. 2015 is not just another year, but one when we have the chance to set the course for a sustainable future — by agreeing on sustainable development goals and achieving a meaningful, universal climate agreement.

The United Nations also turns 70 this year, which is as much a chance to look back on the Organization’s contributions to peace, human rights and development as an opportunity to look forward.

The power of young people is essential if we are to succeed in facing global challenges, not least ending poverty and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Our one and only planet is theirs to inherit and we need their active involvement and ideas to help reduce emissions and become more climate-resilient.

So, at this week’s event, I made three calls to action to the world’s youth.

First: Help us drive sustainable development that is people-centred and planet-sensitive. Second: Fight injustice and inequality with solidarity so no one is left behind. And third: Be an active global citizen.

Young people have been hit hardest by the global unemployment crisis. Globally, 73 million young people are looking for work; they are three times more likely than adults to be jobless. Many more are trapped in exploitative jobs, child labour or slave labour.

Yet, youth are more than victims of poverty and economic downturn — they can be agents of change. We need to do more to create jobs for young people and to support young entrepreneurs so they can create jobs for others. Ending poverty and creating wealth is part of the solution, but we have to make sure that economic prosperity is inclusive and shared.

I continue to be impressed by energy, talent and optimism that I see in the young people I meet on my travels around the world and the youth delegates who came to the UN this week were no exception. I am counting on today’s youth to do their part as global citizens who act for our common future.

This article is published in collaboration with LinkedIn. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

To keep up with the Agenda subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Author: Ban Ki-moon has been secretary-general of the United Nations since 2007.

Image: A young worker sits in the office of a start-up company at the Wostel co-working space in Berlin March 18, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Future of WorkGlobal Governance
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

From 'Quit-Tok' to proximity bias, here are 11 buzzwords from the world of hybrid work

Kate Whiting

April 17, 2024


About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum