Regional High-Level Meeting

on Young People's Learning, Skilling and Transition to Decent Work

The Regional High-Level Meeting on Young People’s Learning, Skilling and Transition to Decent Work is co-organized by the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Children’s Fund under the UN Arab States Issue-Based Coalition for Adolescents and Youth. The transition from learning to work is a key priority for adolescents and young people across the region. The meeting brings together Government Officials from key sectors, private sector and UN in dialogue with young people themselves to enable an exchange of good practices, and to converge towards a shared vision to support young people’s transition from learning to decent work. It will provide recommendations from the Arab States / Middle East and North Africa Region to the upcoming UN Secretary General’s Global Summit on Transforming Education in September 2022.

You can follow the event on YouTube at this link.

The Sessions

23 May | 10.00-11.20
Opening Session

23 May | 11.20-12.20
Youth-led plenary “Our Reality”
The meaningful engagement and participation of young people in the conceptualization, design, preparation, delivery, and follow-up to the High-Level Meeting was identified as a key determinant of success for this event. Young people across the region were engaged in a Youth Advisory Board and led several thematic roundtables to identify key bottlenecks and develop recommendations. Young people were also engaged at the national level working with their delegations to develop the commitments for their country. This session is led by members of the Youth Advisory Group to share their journey and summarize their key recommendations to frame and guide the thematic discussions over the course of the next two days.

23 May |13.30-15.00
Parallel Thematic session 1.1
“Young People develop the Market-Relevant Skills for Work and Life, with focus on the most vulnerable”
Education and training systems across the region are often constrained by outdated pedagogy, learning techniques and examination practices, and are not aligned with contemporary realities and labour market requirements. Traditional teacher-centred and knowledge-based approaches are failing to develop the skills that are essential for lifelong learning, employability/decent work, personal empowerment and active citizenship. This session aims at identifying measures to address the bottlenecks hindering young people, especially the most vulnerable, to acquire market-relevant skills for work and life.

23 May | 13.30-15.00
Parallel Thematic session 1.2
"Future of work: realizing young people’s full potential"
The future of work (FoW) is being shaped by four main megatrends: globalization, technology, demography, and climate change. Each of these trends brings about new opportunities for the region’s labour markets but also new challenges in terms of the new and emerging modes of work. This session aims to identify the sectors and jobs that are most promising for FoW in the region. Furthermore, it will highlight existing promising practices, and recommend measures to make skills and lifelong learning activities, as well as social protection policies and labour regulations, responsive to these global drivers of change, take full advantage of demographic changes and dividends, ensuring inclusive prosperity.

23 May| 15.30-17.00
Parallel Thematic session 2.1 Young
People are connected with Multiple Pathways of Learning, with focus on those left furthest behind Education and training systems across the region aggravate inequalities, with almost 1/5 of young people dropping out of school before finalizing lower-secondary education, and even more than 1/3 of young people leaving formal schooling before graduating upper-secondary education. Ensuring continuity of learning and preparation for life and work, calls for open and flexible education systems promoting multiple gender-sensitive pathways of learning. This session aims at identifying measures to address the bottlenecks hindering the provision of multiple pathways of learning for young people, especially relevant and effective to reach the most vulnerable and promote gender equality.

23 May | 15.30-17.00
Parallel Thematic session 2.2 - Young women and men leading social enterprises to address developmental challenges
The session addresses the role of social entrepreneurship for youth and their societies. Issues such as access to finance, lack of skills, access to market and legislative/administrative barriers are critical challenges for youth, especially women, to create social impact and start their social enterprises. The session brings together relevant actors from government/policymakers, private sector, civil society organizations and social entrepreneurs to discuss the opportunities and challenges of social entrepreneurship development, especially for young women and vulnerable young people. 

24 May | 9.15-10.45
Opening plenary Day 2 “The Power of Partnerships”
This session is designed to profile and inspire public-private-youth partnerships which support responding to and addressing key bottlenecks in the transition of young people in MENA from Learning to Earning. This session will inspire the audience to seek partnership approaches with UN agencies, national governments, private sector, civil society and youth which address bottlenecks hampering the youth transition from learning to earning. 

24 May | 11.00-12.30
Parallel Thematic session 3.1: - Connecting young women and men with decent jobs: Building systems and improving practices
Youth across the region have been struggling with difficult and delayed transitions from learning to decent work for many decades, with young people three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, with young women 40% more likely not to be in employment, education or training. Their search for decent work often lasts years, giving rise to persistently high rates of joblessness and unemployment. Ensuring young people’s smooth transition into decent employment calls for targeted employment services helping young jobseekers find a job faster, and often with better quality, while at the same time guiding them towards further education or skills training. This session aims at identifying effective approaches and promising practices that connect young people, particularly young women and the most vulnerable, with decent jobs and support lifelong learning. 

24 May | 11.00-12.30
Parallel Thematic session 3.2 - Entrepreneurship as a Livelihood for young people
Driven by increasing awareness of the need to address fragile livelihoods against a changing environment, and the potential capacity of entrepreneurship in reducing unemployment, countries across the region have paid increasing attention to skilling youth, better engaging the private sector; building entrepreneurial and life skills; accommodating technological developments; and better alignment with market needs. This session aims to share positive experiences in the field, from policymakers, CSOs, and the business community, in developing the appropriate learning environment and utilizing relevant learning methods to promote equal opportunities for young women and men for entrepreneurship and provide the tools for youth to develop sustainable businesses.

24 May | 13.30-14.30
Youth-led plenary “Connecting with Young People”
The session will focus on the challenges of some of the most vulnerable young people and familiarize delegates with the challenges of those furthest behind through young people’s personal stories. It will show the creativity and ingenuity young people have employed to overcome their challenges.

24 May | 14.30-15.30
Community session Refugee Youth as change-makers

A session dedicated to discussing the specific challenges that young refugees face in the transition from learning to earning, as well as some of the responses and solutions that have been put in place, specifically based on the experiences from the No Lost Generation (NLG) and PROSPECTS initiatives. After a short introduction, the core of the session will be handled by a small group of young refugees and IDPs, who will share their experiences, the challenges they face and identify potential solutions in this transition.

24 May | 14.30-15.30
Community session Volunteering & Service learning
Volunteerism plays a fundamental role in promoting peace and development and the value-based work of more than 800 million people volunteering worldwide paves the way for more equal and inclusive societies as well as for positive social impact across any number of sectors – from child protection to climate resilience to pandemic response. For young people, it is especially volunteerism’s potential to facilitate their transition into various forms of employment in both formal and informal sectors, that is of particularly high importance to them. In line with the broader theme of young people’s transition from education to employment, this session, therefore, focuses on the crucial role volunteerism plays in that process.

24 May | 14.30-15.30
Community session Just Opportunities for Girls and young women
The objective of this session is to bring participants into a reflection on how to break the gender barriers for females transition from learning to earning. In doing so, the session will bring attention to key issues regarding female transition into the workforce, but these structural inequalities will be discussed with a solution-oriented mindset, focusing on positive innovative ways moving forward. By engaging government representatives, private sector and female youth in a panel discussion, the session aims to bring key stakeholders and the audience together to both inspire and agree on steadfast commitments to enable female transition from learning to earning. The session will bring out questions concerning gender stereotypes and biases, policies, and enabling factors as well as to show that the only way forward for a more sustainable world is to ensure young women are a part of the future labour force.

24 May | 14.30-15.30
Community session Green jobs and skills
The shift to a green economy is increasing the pace of change in labour markets and skills needs. Economies moving towards greener production can seize the potential for job creation if they deal effectively with the coming structural change and transformation of existing jobs. While few new occupations emerge in the transition to greener work, massive change occurs in existing occupations. Successful transitions from old to new, greener industries and occupations will require efficient retraining and skills upgrading. A key element of the transformation must be to target training initiatives to segments of the population typically at a disadvantage in the labour market. Skills development is critical to unlocking the employment potential of green growth.

24 May | 16.00-17.15
Closing Session

Read our frequently asked questions to know more about the event

Who is holding this meeting? The Regional High-Level Meeting is co-organized by four UN agencies: ILO, UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF, under the umbrella of the Issue-based Coalition on Adolescents and Youth. It is being held on 23 and 24 May 2022.
Who is the target audience of this meeting? Who is taking part?
· Policymakers in the Middle East and North Africa region who are working in the sphere of learning to earning. This includes learning and skilling, the creation of jobs for young people and the linking of young people with decent work opportunities.

· The private sector, to forge partnerships necessary for job creation for young people, introducing technical and life skills to young people and moving them from learning and education to earning and becoming the impactful citizens this region needs.

· Young people themselves, to showcase not only the challenges and concerns they have but also their skills, and achievements and how those can be utilized across the region towards realizing a full potential.

· UN agencies ,civil society and workers unions.
What are the main objectives of the meeting?
· Exchange of good practices in the transition from learning to earning for young people.

· Provide a platform for constructive engagement of young people in discussions with policymakers and stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, UN agencies, the civil society including NGOs.

· For the main stakeholders (policy makers, private sector and young people) to come with a set of commitments and action points from the different countries to further an agenda that prioritizes youth, their aspirations, needs and most importantly the creation of the space for fostering work opportunities for young people.
How did you select the young people? The young people participating in this meeting were selected from working groups and other activities engaged in the networks of the organizing agencies who have been working on projects in support of learning and young people. For diversity and wider impact, the selection was based on a number of criteria including gender, geographic location, socioeconomic background, their engagement in their communities and with their peers, refugees and host communities, and socioeconomic groups.
What is the role of youth in the event?
Youth are the core and the beating heart of this event. The role of youth is two folds:

· Youth advisory group: young people who were part of the preparation of the event. Leading up to this event, we had three youth-led round tables: (1) education, (2) social protection, and (3) The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development. These were entirely led by youth, in which they engaged with stakeholders from governments,

UN and private sector on these different topics. The outcomes of these round tables are feeding into the different sessions in the high-level meeting which in turn will formulate recommendations and action points to the Global Transforming Education Summit, an initiative of the UN Secretary-General, that will take place in September.

· Young people as part of the official national delegations which also includes government officials and the private sector, supported by a UN representative. These young people will be actively engaged throughout the two days and will feed into the different discussions and most importantly to the action plan and recommendations.
How many countries are represented in this meeting? The invitation to the event has been extended to Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, The United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
How can I participate? While the physical participation is limited to the invited delegations, the event will be streamed online. You can follow the event, ask questions and take part in discussions using the link below