Press Release: CIBJO's president Gaetano Cavalieri addressed the annual High Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations in New York, expressing concerns that the jewelry industry is impacted by the global economic crisis, which is affecting job creation in the business sector, and consequently is undermining the fight against poverty.
The focus of this year's ECOSOC was the global job crunch and the need to stimulate the creation of decent and sustainable employment. The theme of the event was "Promoting productive capacity and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the Millennium Developments Goals (MDG)." Speaking at the opening, ECOSOC's president Milos Koterec put the figure of unemployed at 205 million worldwide, and said that "work is worryingly difficult to find, and finding decent, meaningful work, harder still."
ECOSOC is the UN forum in which representatives of government, business and civil society discuss the world's economic, social and environmental challenges, and policy recommendations are made. More than 500 delegates attended the event in New York, where CIBJO was the world jewelry industry's sole representative. CIBJO has held consultative status in ECOSOC since 2006.
Delivering his remarks, Dr. Cavalieri expressed the jewelry industry's continued support for the United National development objectives. "We strongly promote at CIBJO the 10 Global Compact Principles for our industries as well as our support for the achievement of the UN Millennium Goals by 2015," he said.
However, he noted, "the global recession and the current world financial crisis are accelerating poverty worldwide, and this is defeating the first Millennium Development Goal to eradicate poverty. Chronic unemployment figures and the social exclusion of millions of the world's youth must be resolved to avoid a lost generation of young workers."
Dr. Cavalieri described programs that have been undertaken to stimulate grass-roots economic and social development in the countries and regions in which the jewelry and gemstone sectors are active. This includes the establishment of an International Training Centre for Corporate Opportunities (ITCCO) in 2011 in Antwerp, which provides training to a young generation from developing countries, in order to help them adapted to the new business environment, improve their skills and create jobs which can compete in the global market.
"We believe that it is the duty of each and every industrial sector to provide training opportunities for the younger generations, in order to better prepare them for the evolving labor market, which now operates in a very competitive global environment," the CIBJO president said. "Education and training are a prerequisite for the eradication of poverty in the world."
During his stay in New York, Dr. Cavalieri held a private meeting with Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, the vice president of ECOSOC. Also serving as the Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, Ambassador de Alba earlier served as the first president of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
At an ECOSOC side event, Dr. Cavalieri was a participant in a panel discussion at the UN headquarters looking at the impact of the financial crisis on youth unemployment in partnership with The Global Foundation for Democracy and Development. Among the other panel members were representatives of the Dominican Republic, the special coordinator for civil society in the office of the president of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly, and the head of the office for ECOSOC's support and coordination.
The panel discussion recognized that young people are playing an increasingly important role in social movements calling for democracy, equal opportunities and better employment, but noted UN data that indicates that they are three times more likely than adults to be unemployed. Dr Cavalieri concluded the panel on youth unemployment by stressing "the importance of giving youth our testimony on going forward in life and bringing the basic principles of family with them."
The 2012 ECOSOC High-Level Segment concluded with the adoption on July 10 of a draft ministerial declaration that had been submitted by the president. The resolution encourages strong collaboration and partnerships in order to address the challenges of youth unemployment. Furthermore, it urges the sharing of experiences and effective practices, along with the creation and strengthening of youth programs, such as the United Nations Volunteers, that focus on employment.
* Pictured: Ambassador Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba (third from left), ECOSOC Vice President, shaking hands with CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri. They are flanked (from left) by Dr. Hanifa Mezoui, Special Coordinator for the Third Committee and Civil Society Affairs for the President of the 66th Session of UN General Assembly; Jean-Pierre Diserens, Secretary General of the Convention of Independent Financial Advisors; Alice Hecht, the former Chief of Protocol of the United Nations in New York; and Elisa Diaz, of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations.
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