Pacific Youth Consultation: Disruptive Innovation and Youth for Zero Hunger by 2030

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is hosting the SDG conference ‘Towards Zero Hunger – Partnerships for Impact’ which is currently taking place from 30-31 August 2018 in Wageningen, The Netherlands:

“The conference brings together key stakeholders to discuss their views and contributions for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to take action towards reaching the targets and partnerships. The conference centres around SDG2: end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture and SDG17: create partnerships.”

One of the side sessions organised by CTA and WUR  on ‘Disruptive Innovation and Youth for Zero Hunger by 2030’  discussed the approaches used by a number of key organisations related to youth employment and /or entrepreneurship to achieve their goals and targets.

Various short keynotes by public and private entities such as CTA, IFAD, Danone, Mercy Corps, and WUR and the diagram below triggered discussions around what is currently being done to support youth in finding productive and rewarding jobs and becoming successful entrepreneurs.

The Situation in the Pacific:

More than half of the 10 million population of the Pacific Island States is under the age of 25 years old, and a quarter are between the ages of 15 and 30. Presently, the youth labour force (app. 25%) experiences problems entering the formal and informal labour markets; and women are more disproportionately affected than men. Annually, 16 thousand highly skilled Pacific Islanders leave their countries for better-paid jobs in Australia and New Zealand. Now more than ever, the Pacific needs young people to be proactively engaged in contributing to an innovative and environmentally sustainable agricultural economy as the population is expected to double by 2050, putting further strain on the agri-food and health systems. Youth need to be encouraged to be creative risk takers and pursue entrepreneurial activities.

We want to hear the voice of the Pacific Youth (please leave your comments at the bottom of the page):

What are the most effective ways to address the challenge of youth under- and unemployment, and expand youth entrepreneurial opportunities in the Pacific context? Can a transformed agri-food sector reduce youth unemployment and absorb youth labour in a meaningful way? What areas and issues receive much attention, and what interventions are underrepresented? 

The outcomes of the discussions and online consultations will be used to influence policies and investment that support youth to gain jobs and be successful entrepreneurs.


Background of the diagram

Many interventions are based on the assumption that young people are either insufficiently equipped or not sufficiently motivated to support the agricultural transformation agenda. Inadequate preparedness, diverging aspirations, and a shrinking labour market close them out of finding productive and rewarding jobs and becoming successful entrepreneurs. Both the supply side and the demand for labour / markets as well as the enabling environment need to be considered. This is what we call the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ approach. Beyond questioning individualistic and supply oriented approaches from an economic viewpoint, it is also important to look at how young people are embedded in social relationships and societal norms. These influence both their aspirations for the future and their actual agency when pursuing work and entrepreneurial opportunities and navigating uncertainty. Education, skills training, behavioural change and entrepreneurship support, participation in decision-making processes may be conceived as some crucial elements to prepare them for taking advantage of opportunities. However, where market conditions do not offer young entrepreneurs many opportunities, or if educated and skilled young people find it difficult to get work then investments made do not yield the desired results. [Source: Jennie van der Mheen (WUR) and Judith Francis (CTA)]





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