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FAO at global conference on employment for the future

© FAO/G. Napolitano

Developing decent work opportunities for both women and men, especially young people new to the labour market, will be the focus of a global summit in Sweden on the future of employment.

2 June 2010, Rome – Entrepreneurs, opinion makers, political leaders and civil society representatives will be among the more than 2 000 people taking part in the 2-5 June 5th Global YES Summit – Rework the World event in Leksand, Sweden.

The summit will host strategic discussions on employment opportunities for the future, and include presentations of more than 100 initiatives and ventures from all over the world. The selected initiatives, including one presented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will fall into one of five categories: Energy, Water, Land, Cities and People.

In a People session on integrating youth employment in conflict-affected environments, FAO will describe its initiative to promote employment and entrepreneurship among girls and boys in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, through training in agriculture, business and personal skills.

Future employment for girls in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) is an even greater challenge than for boys, as overall female participation in the labour market is one of the lowest in the world - only 15%, according to Palestinian Authority statistics.

The conference session will explore ways to enable girls and boys to take part in farming, build their own businesses and become employable. Specific focus will be placed on how these efforts can be scaled up to reach more people as well as inform other efforts tackling similar conflict-related challenges.

Girls at a disadvantage

Creating jobs for young people is a challenge in a labour market that is expanding by roughly 45 million people a year, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO’s annual Global Employment Trends report shows the number of unemployed youth worldwide increased by 10.2 million in 2009 compared to 2007, the largest hike since 1991.

The report indicates the global economic crisis has had far-reaching effects on employment for both women and men, but worldwide figures show women face greater, ongoing disadvantages in labour markets around the world. Between 2008 and 2009, the unemployment rate for women increased by 0.8 percentage points and for men by 0.7 percentage points.

FAO has long championed rural development as a key to poverty reduction as well as increased gender equality in employment, since many women are employed, formally or informally, in the agriculture sector. While figures are not available for every country surveyed, available ILO statistics show girls living in poverty are more vulnerable to working in unacceptable conditions than boys, and among adults, women are more likely to be engaged in informal or unpaid employment.

To meet these challenges, FAO and ILO are currently collaborating to achieve their shared goals through the “Food, Agriculture and Decent Work” initiative. They are working together in the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2004, and in line with the internationally agreed, global development agenda.

FAO-ILO common areas of work include decent work, employment, gender equality, social protection, social dialogue, fundamental rights and principles at work. The two organizations are also playing leading roles in the global effort to eliminate child labour in agriculture, especially hazardous child labour, and to promote decent youth employment opportunities.


Rework the World is a global initiative that brings together the best local initiatives from around the world, with the aim of creating new employment opportunities for youth worldwide mobilising young people around sustainable ventures.

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FAO Gender Programme
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Эл. почта: gender@fao.org

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