IDS Evidence Report 212

‘Leave No One Behind’: The Post-2015 Universality Agenda and Youth Employment

Published on 1 November 2016

This report aims to present a clear road map for implementing the new universal agenda of the UN in terms of youth employment.

It examines what this might mean for the global youth employment agenda, specifically focusing on a cross-cultural comparison of what young people are actually doing in terms of work and employment. This analysis poses significant questions for a youth employment policy focus that is currently promoting the ‘double universal’ of both youth and employment as ‘black box’ forms of transformation.

However, as social scientists have shown, the category of ‘Youth’ itself is frequently left undefined and unclear, more often than not focusing solely on young men and their hazardous behaviour, ignoring girls, sexual minorities, intra-group diversity and quite often the positive impact of what youth are already doing. At the same time, despite a policy surge, ideas around ’employment’ through development are also ill-defined and lacking context, with evidence emerging of the increasing gap between jobs people can do and the array of jobs available. As this report explores, people classified as ‘not working’ are often also producing and performing multiple forms of ‘value’ which do not fit neatly into tightly defined development parameters.’

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Wignall, R. (2016) ‘Leave No One Behind’: The Post-2015 Universality Agenda and Youth Employment, IDS Evidence Report 212. Brighton: IDS.

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Wignall, Ross
IDS Evidence Report, issue 212


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