‘World Youth Skills Day 2018’ celebrated at the UN Headquarters in New York
The ‘World Youth Skills Day 2018’ was celebrated for the fourth consecutive year on 16th July 2018 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The event was organized by the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Portugal to the UN in New York in partnership with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, ILO and UNESCO. The event was attended by over 120 participants representing Member States of the UN, UN agencies, youth and civil societies.
On 18 December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus, resolution, A/RES/69/145, titled ‘World Youth Skills Day’ spearheaded by Sri Lanka, declaring 15th July as the World Youth Skills Day. Since then, this has been an annual event celebrated at the UN. This year’s event was held under the theme ‘Sustainability and Innovation’ and was co-chaired by Permanent Representatives Rohan Perera of Sri Lanka and Francisco António Duarte Lopes of Portugal. The event explored how the issues of exponential technological change and skills development are interrelated and the actions need to be taken to empower youth to become drivers of a sustainable future.
Permanent Representative Rohan Perera of Sri Lanka in his opening remarks highlighted the pros and cons of an increasingly digital world with technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing and big data changing the way people consume, live and work. He highlighted that the challenge is to harness the positives of technological advancement, while minimizing the negative of technological unemployment or underemployment.
Miroslav Lajčák, President of the General Assembly who delivered the keynote address at the Opening Session of the event noted that youth of today face many new challenges unlike previous generations and that the quality of education available to most youth did not respond to current world trends. He stressed on the importance of including young people in making and implementing policies and investing more in skills and education.
Karunarathna Paranawithana, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology, Research, Skills Development & Vocational Training and Kandyan Heritage while delivering his address as the Guest Speaker, stated that Sri Lanka places great importance in developing its young people by imparting employable skills through Technical Vocational Education and Training as a key in the economic and social development strategy of the country. He outlined the many policies and programmes that Sri Lanka had formulated and implemented to promote youth skills development at the national level.
Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO; Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and Marie Paule Roudil, Director-UNESCO also delivered remarks at the Opening Session.
The Interactive Panel Discussion, featuring panelists from civil society, private sector, education & business sectors and youth was followed by a vibrant exchange of views with participants. The World Youth Skills Day 2018, brought together the voices of Member States of the UN, the UN system, private sector, academia, civil society and youth organizations to discuss how to leverage innovation an demerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning to boost youth employment and implications in skills needs and skills development systems.
From Left to Right (front row): Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; Hon. Karunarathna Paranawithana, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology, Research, Skills Development 7 & Vocational Training and Kandyan Heritage; Dr. Rohan Perera, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in New York; Mr. Francisco António Duarte Lopes, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN in New York; Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General ILO; Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Director UNESCO
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN
17 July 2018