Date of Meeting: 09 Feb 2016

Meeting Organizer: UN Youth Delegates of Bulgaria, UN Youth Delegates of Romania

ISJC Staff Present: Luke Cozens

Reporter: Luke Cozens

Which SDG does this topic cover? 1, 4, 8, 10, 11

Type of meeting: Side Event to the Commission of Social Development

Brief summary of presentation of information made

  • Mr David Timis, Youth Delegate of Romania to the UN introduced the concept of NEET - Young People who are Neither in Employment, nor in Education or Training who are often called the “invisible youth”. He noted that it was an increasingly important term. He noted that young people feel the aftermath of economic crises and that 2011/12 statistics had 14 million NEET in Europe. He highlighted seven groups who were particularly at risk: people who have not had good access to education, people who have immigrated, people with a disability, people whose parents have divorced, people who are unemployed or whose family are unemployed, and people living in deprived locations both in terms of different countries and different local communities. He briefly surveyed levels on NEET internationally and noted that Sweden has the lowest levels and Bulgaria the highest. He suggested that NEET causes a great cost to society and that Spain, Ireland and Italy may have increased in NEET due to the economic crisis. He highlighted Sustainable Development Goal 8 which has a target for “full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including young people and persons with disabilities, and equal work for equal value.

  • Ms. Akiko Ito, Chief, Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, DSPD, UNDESA focused on the inclusion of young people with disabilities and suggested that the issue was not simply about advancing the status of people with disabilities but rather allowing them to take the lead. She noted that in disaster risk reduction work it has been codified that people with disabilities are not just recipients of assistance but change makers. She said that the issue was not about leaving certain people behind, but rather about all of us advancing in an inclusive society.

  • Mr. Vladmir Cuk, Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance identified a difference between the situations young people with disabilities (YWD) who are powerless, voiceless and in special institutions and those who can participate in the YWD movement and gain power, inclusive education, jobs and families. He outlined the journey through education of someone with disabilities and noted that there is very little support after primary school and YWD who drop out of schools often become NEET. He highlighted the importance of mainstreaming YWD to empower them to know their human rights, help them identify with a history, legacy and community, and to see there connection to others in diversity. He noted that young people are the “now” of this movement and identified four goals: 1) full and equal participation in youth programs, 2) participation in the disability movement, 3) inclusive education and vocational training, 4) cross-sector engagement to increase awareness and remove stigma.

  • Mr Dimita Dimitrov, Youth Delegate of Bulgaria to the UN introduced the NGO “Listen Up!” as an example of best practice in working with people with hearing impediments in Bulgaria. The NGO is a 100% volunteer based group which “builds bridges” to allow people with disabilities to access communication and information services and thereby to reduce problems of dependence. This includes a direct translation device from spoken language to on-screen signing.

  • Ms. Anca Agachi, Youth Delegate of Romania to the UN highlighted the fact that NEETs are not just one group but a collection of vulnerable groups and that there is a need to tackle to endemic processes at the root cause of people becoming NEET. She spoke specifically about the Roma community, noting that 58% of those who are NEET in Romania are from this community. She introduced two initiatives: Asociatia Vidu Ro which works with children ages 1-5 to provide grants to help parents send their children to kindergarten, and Ajungun Mai which works primarily with children in foster care allowing adults to visit the children and teach their passion, she noted that the organization counts it’s evolution in hugs.

  • Ms. Anina Yovkova, Youth Delegate of Bulgaria to the UN asked the group to consider how to engage with young people and prevent them from becoming NEET, she highlighted the following figures: those who did not complete primary and secondary education are three times more likely to become NEET, those who have immigrated from a different country to their current residence are 70% more likely, those who have a disability are 40% more likely, and those whose parents are divorced are 30% more likely.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

  • Young people who are NEET are particularly vulnerable and need support and empowerment.

  • Young people with disabilities are in particular need of support in the transition from primary to secondary and secondary to tertiary education.

Web links for more information

Work with poor communities in Romania:

Tags: United Nations, SDG10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG1: No Poverty, SDG4: Quality Education, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities