Business & UN

What does International Youth Day mean to you? ICC’s interns respond.

  • 13 August 2018

Yesterday was International Youth Day so we decided to ask our interns to give their views on the importance of safe spaces and the role of business in youth empowerment.

As the world’s largest business organisation, ICC recognises the role young people play in driving innovation and sustainability for the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, as well as the need to provide them with the right tools to drive change worldwide. Under this year’s theme ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’, ICC interns are sharing their safe spaces on our Instagram stories.

“Young people serve as catalysts for peace and prosperity, not only in their local communities but on the global stage”, said Clare Birmingham, an ICC Environment and Energy Commission intern from the United States.

Safe spaces should provide youth with the opportunity to participate on important conversations while developing their leadership abilities and problem-solving skills.

“If we want to ensure the protection of human rights throughout the world, we must start by guaranteeing safe spaces for young people,” explained Christopher Glasscock, an ICC International Court of Arbitration intern from Panama.

For Alan Smith, an ICC Trade and Investment Commission intern from Panama, an example of a safe space was Model United Nations (MUN), a programme where students take part in a simulation of a United Nations committee to solve an important issue.

Alan said that educational programmes like MUN are important because “collectively as youth, you can decide what the best way is for your countries to move forward as a global community in an environment of mutual cooperation and understanding”.

It is also important that these spaces help youth learn in an inclusive setting with peers from diverse backgrounds. Governments must provide public spaces where young people can express themselves freely and engage in activities that improve their livelihoods.

Martin Méric, an ICC Legal Services intern from France, highlighted that such spaces should be for everyone “no matter what your gender is, no matter what your religious beliefs or political opinions are”.

Business initiatives are also crucial for youth empowerment. According to a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the unemployment rate for young people is three times higher than it is for adults. Youth have the skills businesses need to keep innovating, but they must be given an opportunity to develop them.

“Businesses can help by implementing training programmes”, said Assunta Ndami, an ICC International Court of Arbitration intern from Kenya.

Training programmes are necessary to promote equal opportunities for youth, help them gain professional experience and increase their chances to build a better future for everyone. Entrepreneurship could be a solution for unemployment as well, but young entrepreneurs have very limited access to funding and other necessary resources for their businesses.

“The promotion of entrepreneurship through business development is crucial in the battle against poverty, especially in rural areas”, added Diana Sarai Martinez, a Banking Commission intern from the United States.

Action from business, governments and civil society is needed to make sure that young people have access to safe spaces. These spaces will give youth an opportunity to be in an inclusive environment where they can exchange ideas, create their own projects and build a brighter future for everyone.

Business is taking action to empower youth and contribute to their development: