3rd Programme Steering Committee Meeting of “Decent Employment for Youth in Cambodia – DEY Phase II”
Remarks by Pauline Tamesis, the UN Resident Coordinator
His Excellency Dr. Ith Samheng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training
Distinguished members of the Steering Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is an honor to welcome you to the 3rd Steering Committee Meeting of the “Decent Employment for Youth in Cambodia-DEY” programme phase II. Today’s meeting is dedicated to mark the progress of the programme and jointly explore new opportunities while advancing the current interventions. I am grateful to co-chair this meeting with you, Excellency Dr. Ith Samheng.
A lot has already been said about how the pandemic disrupted and fundamentally changed how we work.
The ILO is now projecting that global hours worked in 2021 will be 4.3 per cent below pre-pandemic levels (the fourth quarter of 2019), the equivalent of 125 million full-time jobs. This represents a dramatic revision of the ILO’s June projection of 3.5 per cent or 100 million full-time jobs.
COVID-19 has also accelerated the digitization of the world of work, which widens the gap between those who benefit from digitalization and those who are already at risk of being left behind.
Yet, we have worked together to transform this crisis into opportunities, digitalizing our systems and advancing capabilities to narrow these gaps and build a more resilient and equitable future. A future where the human rights and voices of youth are respected, protected and promoted.
Despite the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, we stand together and make progress in the second year of the programme. The programme digitalizes and greens the learning content, methodologies, and skill development platforms. These are all significant contributions towards addressing the current challenges and building forward better for Cambodia.
Thanks to the digital and blended platforms, as well as digital innovation, we continue to support learning and teaching. By making opportunities more accessible to young women migrant returnees, low-skilled workers and rural and vulnerable youth, they have acquired skills in demand and become certified. We have also supported youth with access to obtain waged employment and establish their own business, which plays a crucially important role in the socio-economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 pandemic.
In the last day and a half, we also had the opportunity to interact with partners of DEY, the National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia, Industrial Technical Institute, Vital Premium Water Company, GGear and My Dream Home. I took away from the field visits the importance of our programme’s contribution to human resource capability development, which is a critical component for building resilience and recovering better from the pandemic.
As the co-chair, I am proud to witness such significant accomplishments.
Nonetheless, challenges remain for us to stand stronger together to address the challenges of today and tomorrow. In the third year, we will do our best to refocus our interventions to maximize our synergies and impact.
With a commitment to contribute to building forward better, with human rights at its core, we will continue to support our young Cambodians, especially those most affected by COVID-19.
The priorities of 2022 are aligned with the main megatrends impacting the future of work, namely Digitalization, Decarbonization and Demography.
First, investing in transferable skills including basic digital and basic green skills for youth as a pillar of economic recovery guarantees that no one will be left behind. Blended learning methodologies and digital skills are indispensable requirements not only to find a job but already for following trainings and lifelong learning. Youth also need to be equipped with skills for the green economy, which will both increase their employability and reduce the carbon impact of their work.
Second, there needs to be a more enabling environment for youth entrepreneurship and stronger support for establishments of new youth-owned businesses. In addition, improved functioning of small producers and MSMEs across sectors can ensure economic recovery and production of, and access to, food and other essential goods and services.
Third, we need to reset public-private partnerships in learning and skills development design and delivery. We need to seek better means to “now cast” demand for skills, to design training capsules in an adaptable and innovative fashion and create feedback loops to improve learning and teaching, including blended and online learning.
I would like to take this opportunity and express my appreciation to the Royal Government, SDC, CAMFEBA, the business sector and other partners, most especially, the youth of Cambodia for your fruitful collaboration, and your readiness and commitment to contributing to the implementation of the third year of the programme phase II.
Let’s rise to the challenge together to achieve a big, bold vision for the Decent Employment for Youth programme, phase II. Thank you!