The Importance of Family in the Priority Theme of “Rethinking and Strengthening Social Development in the Contemporary World”

Oral Intervention to the 53rd Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development

13 February 2015

United Nations Commission for Social Development
Fifty-Third Session
Item 3(b) of the Provisional Agenda

Mr. Chairman,

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council appreciates the opportunity to address the Commission on Social Development and wishes to emphasize the importance of family in the consideration of the Commission’s priority theme of “Rethinking and Strengthening Social Development in the Contemporary World.”

Employment is an intergenerational issue.  It is linked directly to the economic and financial security of families through the employment of parents, which implicitly affects younger family members.  It also helps to reduce and prevent such social ills as child labor, juvenile delinquency and crime.

According to the Report of the Secretary General to the 53rd Session of Commission for Social Development, the labor market situation of young people is increasingly precarious.  Young people are almost three times as likely as adults to be unemployed and rises in joblessness continue to hit them disproportionately.  Young people are also disadvantaged in terms of wages.  They work more often in the informal sector and are disproportionately affected by working poverty.  Decent work deficits experienced during youth can have long lasting consequences on poverty and affect the wellbeing of current and future generations.  

Meaningful activities can be given to adolescents in preparation for future employment.  As an example, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council provides Internships for teenagers and older young people to serve as counselors at its summer camps in the United States and in Greece.  Opportunities are provided for young volunteers to help build school, health clinics, dig wells and help establish businesses in villages in Africa, Asia and in Eastern Europe.  An ongoing program invites teeneagers to build houses for poor families in Tijuana, Mexico.

The European Union Youth Guarantee is an excellent approach to tackling youth unemployment in the European Union which ensures that all young people under 25 get an offer for a job, apprenticeship, traineeship or continued education that should be adapted to each individual need and situation.

Investing in school to work transitions for young people does prove successful.  For example, in Finland the youth guarantee program resulted in a reduction in unemployment among young people with 83.5% successfully allocated a job, traineeship, apprenticeship or further education within three months of registering with the program.

Mr. Chairman,

Governments should acknowledge the important contribution of unremunerated work to the social wellbeing of young people.  It brings respect, dignity and value to such work.  Promoting socially useful volunteer work and allocating appropriate resources to support such work should be encouraged.  It not only prepares young people for future employment but it works to prevent such social ills as child labor, juvenile delinquency and crime.

Thank you.