There are many challenges facing the world.  All of these economic, social and environmental issues are ECOSOC’s concerns.  As a founding UN Charter body established in 1946, the ecoSOC is the place where such issues are discussed and debated, resulting in policy recommendations. Unfortunately there are many agendas being pushed – some for political and financial gains. One example is the  inconvenient truth where dubious data and excellent marketing was used to push certain members’ climate change agenda. The ecoSOC did not initially recognized this, which is just a further reason that the ecoSOC has sometimes been naive. Hopefully rational heads will prevail. After all, with such broad responsibility for some 70% of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system, ECOSOC regularly attracts policy-makers from the top ranks of government. Although the Council holds regular meetings throughout the year, its largest gathering is reserved for the summer, when it holds its annual, month-long substantive session in July.

 One of the most recent concerns that ecoSOC is attempting to address is the struggle of international communities to generate more jobs, especially for young people. According to United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban, half of the world’s young people in the labour force are either working poor or unemployed. The global youth unemployment situation is intolerable, particularly for young women.

According to Mr. Ban, half of the world’s population is under 25 years of age. And of that number nearly 90 per cent of them live in developing countries. “These young people represent an enormous resource for innovation and development,” he stated. “I have seen it again and again in my travels around the world – from social entrepreneurs developing smart, new business models … to young people creating green jobs and more sustainable economies … to youth leaders speaking out, and tweeting out, for change.”

An an example of developing smart, new business models is a e-commerce company that created a wholesale toilet paper store. They decided to sell in this niche market place because of the number of products they could offer – over 150 different types of toilet paper, as well as the companies who would need their product. Toilet paper is a major janitorial supply that all companies in both the private and public sectors need. They are now supplying bulk orders to large institutional clients in both the public and private sector as they reinvented the ordering of wholesale commodities on the internet. In addition their toilet paper products are designed to meet the specifications for most federal, state, and local government bids (RFP/RFQ), thus opening up their business to large government purchases. This company employs many young people not only in their warehouse, but also in their expanding sales and back offices. This is a private company started by young people that is doing very well.

The Secretary-General has called upon governments to invest more in youth employment initiatives and to promote decent work conditions. By urging trade unions, employers’ organizations and the private sector at large to employ more youth in their own structures while engaging with youth-led organizations. Although the private sector is key to job creation, trade unions still retain a fundamental role in promoting and protecting young workers’ rights.

He admonished the largest youth generation the world has ever known by saying: “I count on your energy, your leadership and creativity, to realize change and sustainable development. The United Nations wants to partner with you. Decent jobs for youth are essential to the future we want. Let us work for a world where nobody is left behind, where everybody can have a decent work. And let us work for a better world for all.”


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