NEW,YORK, 2nd February, 2016 (WAM) — As more than 800 young leaders gather in New York for the annual United Nations Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, Youth Forum, UN officials yesterday launched a new initiative to tackle youth unemployment, making it clear that success in fighting poverty and inequality will largely depend on them being a driving force.

The new UN Global Initiative aims to address the prevailing high levels of youth unemployment by scaling up action across the UN system and in all sectors of the global economy.

It is the fifth time the council has hosted the two-day forum, which will be focusing on the role of young people in implementing, communicating and realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims for global changes within the next 15 years.

According to the International Labour Organisation, ILO, the in low-income countries’ situation is even worse. Every nine in ten young workers remain in informal employment which is sporadic and poorly paid, and falls outside the protection of law.

“The challenges we face may seem overwhelming and out of reach for us to solve, but that is not true, each and every one of us can be an agent of change, no matter our age or means,” said Oh Joon, the President of the ECOSOC, and the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Republic of Korea to the United Nations in New York.

The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, said, “The launching of this timely initiative reflects the UN’s commitment to tackle youth unemployment and promote decent jobs for youth.”

He noted that the initiative reflects that youth employment should be a priority at all levels to unlock the potential of 1.8 billion young people, which he described as “A recipe that is imperative for development, as well as peace and security.”