Youth has been especially hard hit during the last two decades in Africa’s Great Lakes region. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), of those who survived, one in three are unemployed, in danger of drifting and disengaging from societies and production, and engaging in conflicts.

Greater engagement with Youth

The Office of the Special Envoy has embraced Youth projects since early 2014 by participating in April 2014 in the preparatory workshop for the ‘Summit on the Fight against Youth Unemployment through Infrastructure Development and Investment Promotion’ (Youth Summit) including in all aspects of the Youth Summit preparation as well as supporting regional youth project development. The Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has suggested joint work in creating an ‘Erasmus Programme for the Great Lakes Region’.

In the Youth Summit’s Declaration a key recommendation asked the UN to take on youth employment creation as a ‘stand-alone priority goal and deliverable in the post 2015 Development Agenda’. The Office of the Special Envoy started discussions about joint projects in this respect with UN Habitat, and plans to engage the wider UN Country Teams (UNCTs) and agencies for additional projects in the framework of the UN regional plan for Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework implementation. The Office of the Special Envoy and the World Bank’s programmatic cooperation is also aiming at supporting the design and development of youth employment projects.