Today, a quarter of the global population – 1.8 billion people – are between the ages of 15 and 35. This is not only the largest generation of youth the world has ever known but also the most educated generation ever.
Young people are invaluable assets. They bring energy, talent, cutting-edge skills and creativity to the job market. Their motivation is the engine that helps countries to grow, innovate and prosper.
However, the social and economic integration of young people remains an ongoing challenge in many parts of the world.
In Africa alone, the youth population is expected to double to more than 830 million by 2050. Of Africa’s nearly 420 million people aged between 15-35, one-third are unemployed, another third are vulnerably employed (jobs with harsh conditions, low wages and uncertainty), and only one in six is in wage employment. And young women that make up over half of the unemployed youth are finding it harder than ever to close the gender gap.
At UNCCD we place youth at the centre of our activities. We assist young people combatting desertification by helping them harness the relevant knowledge, science and technology for their land restoration endeavors.
We encourage countries to create employment opportunities for young people, especially in rural areas. For example, agricultural eco-tourism and other innovative approaches can bring young job seekers back to their communities, giving them an opportunity to create sustainable livelihoods while addressing the main impacts of climate change, natural resource depletion and land degradation.
We firmly believe this this will help avoid social unrest and political instability resulting from high youth unemployment rates.
We also work closely with the Desertification Youth Caucus to support the engagement of young people in the work of the Convention. For example, at the first ever Youth Forum organized on the occasion of COP13 in Ordos, China in 2017, we engaged in inclusive consultations with young people, including young farmers, entrepreneurs, indigenous and people with disabilities.
Our Land Heroes campaign also features many inspiring youth from around the world whose innovative projects tackle desertification, drought and land degradation.
billion people are aged between 18 and 35 years
million - youth population in Africa by 2050