Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Silatech and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, announced Monday Silatech’s commitment to create 3mn employment opportunities for youth globally and proposed to raise the bar to 5mn by 2022.
She urged the global community to rally behind and empower youth as the key to achieving peace and stability worldwide.
During the high-level event, "Empowering Youth, Transforming Societies," hosted by Silatech at the International Conference Centre Geneva, Sheikha Moza reaffirmed Silatech's commitment to tackling rising youth unemployment through economic and social empowerment, particularly in developing regions with increasingly young populations.
At 30%, youth unemployment in the Arab region is currently one of the highest in the world, compared to 13% globally. "Without meaningful work, our young men and women have no hope for the future, leaving them more vulnerable to radicalisation, violence, and political extremism," she said.
Sheikha Moza warned that without decent livelihood opportunities and meaningful work frustrated youth become socially, politically and economically excluded, exacerbating pressing global challenges like poverty, social unrest, and illegal mass migration.
"Young men and women need the chance to earn a living that will allow them to support their families, contribute to society, and build better futures," she said. "This is the hope that Silatech offers." Established in 2008, Silatech, with the help of over 300 partners, has successfully empowered more than 1mn young people with economic opportunities and jobs in 17 countries.
Sheikha Moza also participated in a panel where she discussed some of the challenges Silatech programmes face, including regional instability and economic exclusion.
As a solution, she stressed the importance of investing in both education and employment.
"Education without employment can lead to frustration and employment without education is a false dream," she said.
Sheikha Moza emphasised the role of quality education in shaping youth for the future, but it must be followed by meaningful employment to give youth a chance to become productive citizens and "the engine of economic growth."
The event included speakers and panellists such as Michelle Bachelet Jeria, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Hassan Ali Khayre, Prime Minister of Somalia; and Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.