OIC labor ministers pledge extra spending to target joblessness

OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen and labor ministers of the OIC member states pose for a group photo at the end of the 4th Islamic Conference in Jeddah on Thursday. (SPA)
Updated 23 February 2018
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OIC labor ministers pledge extra spending to target joblessness

JEDDAH: Jobs for women and young people will be at the heart of labor strategy to boost productivity and economic growth, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) announced.
The 4th Islamic Conference of Labor Ministers said member states would focus on education and occupational training as they sought to reduce their 7.4 percent unemployment rate.
Yousef Al-Othaimeen, OIC secretary-general, said: “The Jeddah Declaration underlined that the average rates of unemployment in the OIC members states is much higher than in the rest of the world’s countries. The ministers have recognized the importance of investing in human resources as they represent a powerful key factor for productivity, economic growth, and a better quality of life. Thus, we commit to exerting more efforts to build the necessary skills for work and life, and to enhance the relation between education and employment.”
Al-Othaimeen said: “We stressed the need to provide better job opportunities for society’s weaker segments, especially the youth and women. We renew our commitment to carry out a comprehensive strategy, promote good job opportunities and occupational training, and take measures to improve the ability to find jobs and encourage the free business initiatives.”
He said labor ministers would increase coordination and cooperation among member states in the areas of employment, social protection and exchange of information.
“Labor ministers are determined to share expertise and exchange the best practices in the field of work, employment and social protection in order to solve the problem of unemployment by creating job opportunities and employing the youth and women,” he said.
Ministers expressed their appreciation for work undertaken to establish the OIC labor center, a specialist institution to be set up in Baku, Azerbaijan.
“The ministers also expressed through the Jeddah Declaration their deep appreciation to King Salman, his government and people for organizing the successful OIC 4th Labor Ministers Conference,” Al-Othaimeen said.


Saudi Arabia’s Misk partners with UN on youth empowerment

Updated 26 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s Misk partners with UN on youth empowerment

  • The Saudi-UN partnership aims to reach and mobilize about 50 million young people around the world in support of the sustainable development goals
  • Saudi Arabia has a big youth demographic, with 60 per cent of the country’s population under the age of 25

NEW YORK: Misk Foundation, the not-for-profit philanthropic organization set up by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, has joined forces with the United Nations in a ground-breaking campaign to advance the cause of young people around the world.
The agreement was signed at a ceremony at the UN’s New York headquarters a day after UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres launched his own initiative to enlist young people in its strategy for global sustainable development.
The Saudi-UN partnership aims to reach and mobilize about 50 million young people around the world in support of the sustainable development goals (SDG), via a series of meetings and forums as part of the UN’s Strategy for Youth.
The UN’s SDG program is a set of targets for future development, ranging from the elimination of hunger and poverty, through education and gender equality, to action on climate change and energy. It coincides with Saudi Arabia’s own Vision 2030 strategy in many respects.
Misk is the first non-governmental organization to join the campaign. “Misk’s mission is to discover, develop and empower young people to become active participants in the knowledge economy both in Saudi Arabia and globally, through partnerships such as this,” said a joint statement from the Saudi organization and the UN.
“Under the initiatives, young people’s leadership, creativity and innovation skills will be harnessed to bolster their ability to be agents for positive change during the run-up to the fifth anniversary of the SDGs in 2020.
“Adding to the existing Young Leaders for the SDGs initiative, a ‘Youth Gateway’ central knowledge hub on SDGs is planned, including a platform to map existing initiatives and provide opportunities for engagement, aimed at motivating more young people to take action. Tools will be developed to measure and track global indicators on youth development and well-being,” the statement added.
Bader Alsaker, chairman of the board of the Misk Initiatives Centre, said: "The Misk Foundation is committed to helping as many young people around the world realize their potential in the future economy and to encourage active global citizenship. The strategic agreement that we are signing today shows our commitment to this mission.
“Partnering with the United Nations will greatly enhance its vital work around the world to help young people from all backgrounds to realize their potential and meet the SDGs,” he added.
Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN secretary-general’s envoy on youth, added: “This major contribution towards the UN Secretariat’s work on youth will be used to operationalize the new UN Strategy on Youth with a focus on advancing our collective efforts to support youth mobilization for the 2030 Agenda worldwide.
“It comes at crucial time, immediately after the public launch of the UN’s Youth Strategy, which shows the commitment and dedication of the Misk Foundation to supporting youth development globally,” she added.
Saudi Arabia has a big youth demographic, with 60 per cent of the country’s population under the age of 25. Many of the policies of the Vision 2030 strategy to reduce oil dependency focus on the need for more and better employment for young people.
According to a recent global poll for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, young people have a far more optimistic view of their own future, as well as that of their country, than older people. “Young people in these countries are more likely to believe they can affect the way their countries are governed and that their generation will have a more positive impact on the world than their parents' generation,” Gates found.
Sultan Al-Musallam, global ambassador of the Misk Foundation, told the UN: “The core belief held by youth, that our problems can only be solved together, in a way that is blind to race, religion or region, is also the bedrock of the UN.”