Latin American young people currently suffer from high unemployment, low social security coverage and labour market participation characterized by low productivity and wages, according to the Officer in Charge of the Argentina Office of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Martín Abeles, speaking at the International Meeting on Social Inclusion, Youth and Gender Equality. IXth Forum of Ministers of Social Development for Latin America, organized by UNESCO's Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme, and held at the Palacio San Martín in Buenos Aires from 16 to 18 September.
According to Mr. Abeles, youth social inclusion policies should "promote the development of their capacities, especially low-income young people, through school progression, quality education, training and access to information and communications technologies".
The IXth Forum of Ministers of Social Development was opened by Foreign Affairs Minister, Héctor Timerman, and Education Minister, Alberto Sileoni, and was closed by Social Development Minister, Alicia Kirchner. The meeting was attended by social affairs ministers from Latin American countries, South Africa, Turkey, Philippines, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso.
The ECLAC representative in Argentina added that "young people are the ones who most readily absorb new technological patterns to take part in structural change, and they are also the most sensitive to environmental sustainability. We therefore expect them to have a strong commitment to sustainable productive development".
In his address, Mr. Abeles recommended "facilitating the transition from education to work through employment mediation policies, listening to young people's new demands of the political system and seeking ways of linking emerging youth organizations with public debate systems such as political parties, media and parliament".
Forum sessions were the opportunity for dialogue on youth-based social inclusion strategies and policies. The contributions from the three-day meeting gave rise to the Declaration of Buenos Aires, in which agreement was expressed on many issues.
These included designing and supporting youth and gender inclusion policies, in terms of their protagonists, confirmation of the importance of integral and cross-cutting social policies to avoid implementing programmes designed in isolation of the situations they aim to change, and reinforcing initiatives under way to protect and promote the rights of young people.