United Nations (UN)

Generation Unlimited: EU partners with UNICEF on new initiative for quality education and training for young people

24/09/2018 - 17:30
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“Let’s make this happen: make sure that every young woman and man finds their place in society – through education, training or a good job – by 2030. This is Generation Unlimited, and I am proud the EU is part of it with UNICEF,” said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, as world leaders united with UNICEF to launch "Generation Unlimited”, a new partnership for youth, during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

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Generation Unlimited is a new commitment of the United Nations to work with and for young people. As part of the Youth 2030 Strategy, Generation Unlimited aims to address the desperate lack of quality education, skills training, and employment opportunities for youngsters. It is a global partnership dedicated to increasing opportunities and investments for children and young people aged 10 to 24, with the overarching goal to ensure that every young person is in some form of school, learning, training or employment by 2030.

Without urgent investment in education and skills training, the rapidly growing global population of adolescents and young people – which will reach 2 billion by 2030 – will continue to be unprepared and unskilled for the future workforce. And with more than 200 million young people of lower- and upper-secondary school age currently missing out on school, instead of contributing to equitable progress, young people – especially the most disadvantaged – could face futures of compounding deprivation and discrimination.

Generation Unlimited – which forms part of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Youth 2030 Strategy – will complement and build on existing programmes that support adolescents and young people. The partnership platform will focus on three key areas: secondary-age education; skills for learning, employability and decent work; and empowerment. A Youth Challenge taking place in 16 countries worldwide this year calls for applications from young people to create solutions that will support the three key pillars of Generation Unlimited.

 “Through it, we are working with partners to examine and scale-up a number of innovative solutions to help every young person access education, skills training and support that they need by 2030,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore explained.

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24 September 2018 at UNICEF House in New York, Generation Unlimited global board members 

Over the past years, the EU has been actively supporting UNICEF on several projects for youth. In the South West of Côte d’Ivoire a civic centre supported by UNICEF and the EU was opened to give a second chance to boys between 16 and 24 years who have had a difficult start in life. Up to 150 people undergo nine months of training at the same time, aimed to help them have a better future. The first three months of this training are mainly focused on basic education, moral and civic development. During the last six months of the training, young people learn a trade of their choice.

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Still in Côte d’Ivoire, Tatiana Brought found out that she was pregnant when she was fifteen. She had a baby boy but had to leave him with her grandmother as she didn't have money to raise him properly so she moved to Abidjan to look for work. She only found a very low paid job but eventually she was put in contact with social workers at the Amigo centre, supported by UNICEF and the European Union. Amigo centre gives vulnerable young people a second chance and helps them reintegrate their communities by teaching them a profession and giving them the support they need. The centre will help Tatiana to find a job in a restaurant or where she can use her cooking skills 'I would love to open my own little restaurant one day,' she says excitedly at the thought of this chance to get a better life.

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Around the world the EU and UNICEF have also partnered to help children in crisis situations. Together they are committed to making a positive difference in the lives of these children, providing education and protection for children in emergencies in countries such as Cameroon, Guinea, Iraq, Ukraine, Pakistan, Chad, Kenya and South Sudan.

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Grade eight students attending the Ukrainian literature class at a secondary school supported by UNICEF and the EU, after having been transferred from a nearby school that was severely damaged last year


Earlier this year High Representative Mogherini and UNICEF Executive Director, Fore, held their first meeting in Brussels when they reaffirmed that, as partners for children, the EU and UNICEF will continue working hand-in-hand to reach the common goal of leaving no child behind.