Global leaders announce bold new commitments to Generation Unlimited

The World Bank will invest $1 billion to support young people’s transition to the world of work, in partnership with Generation Unlimited.

Generation Unlimited
15 April 2019
Members of the Generation Unlimited Global Board meet at the World Bank in Washington D.C.
Members of the Generation Unlimited Global Board meet at the World Bank in Washington D.C.

Leading figures from the private and public sectors, international organisations and civil society have come together for the Global Board of Generation Unlimited in Washington D.C. to announce groundbreaking commitments to young people.

The World Bank pledged support to education, skills and training for young people on a break-through scale.

"We are delighted to announce we will align $1 billion in investment with Generation Unlimited,” said Annette Dixon, Vice President of Human Development at the World Bank.

“Together we can ensure millions of young people have what they need to purse their life goals and contribute to the growth and prosperity of the world."

- Annette Dixon
World Bank Vice President for Human Development Annette Dixon addresses the meeting.
World Bank Vice President for Human Development Annette Dixon addresses the meeting.

“We know how important young people are today and for the future ahead of us,” said Dixon. “If these young people are equipped with skills and competencies for success they will bring happiness and development to their communities and the planet as a whole."

Generation Unlimited is a global partnership working to prepare young people to become productive and engaged citizens. It connects secondary-age education and training to employment and entrepreneurship, empowering every young person to thrive in the world of work.

The partnership brings together key players from across different sectors to leverage the full potential of recent breakthroughs in research, data, technology and economics.

The diversity of the partnership gives it unique potential to spark change, explained UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore.

“Our public-private genes are central to our success as a partnership for young people.”

- Henrietta Fore

“We have to develop new models, new innovative ways to transform education systems and scale up skills training,” said Fore.

Former Unilever CEO, Paul Polman, with UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka.
Former Unilever CEO, Paul Polman, with UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka.

At the Board meeting, the Government of the Netherlands announced it would invest €10 million to support the goals of Generation Unlimited. The generous contribution will match education and work, ensuring more youth have the right skills to build a better future.

The Government of Ireland contributed  €1 million to the activities of Generation Unlimited to help unlock the potential of young people. Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciaran Cannon, is one of the latest Champions to join Generation Unlimited.

“I am honoured to accept the invitation,” said Cannon. “I will focus my efforts on ensuring that we can translate these noble aspirations into better lives for our children and succeeding generations.”

With the right support, young people can use their creativity and talents to build better lives for themselves and more prosperous societies for all.
Maria, Volodymr and Fedir are using their creativity and talents to build innovative new solutions for other young people in Ukraine.

As one of the Generation Unlimited Leaders and former CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman co-chaired the meeting and called on businesses to join forces in support of the partnership, whose Global Board members from the private sector include Microsoft, Mastercard, ING, Pearson and Ikea Foundation, among others.

"We are all sitting here because we had education and opportunities to enter the workforce. I’d like to fight for the 260 million children who are not in school."

- Paul Polman

Board members praised the fast growth of the partnership since its launch in 2018 and its progress in crafting its strategy and country work. In particular, the African Union Commissioner for Human Resource, Science, Technology, Sarah Anyang Agbor, and the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, both highlighted the support of their respective institutions to Generation Unlimited and a commitment to partner in Africa.

Young people continued their important role in the Generation Unlimited Board as Ilwad Elman, Director of the Elman Peace Centre, revealed the five global winners of the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge. This innovative approach supports young people to create their own solutions for education, skills and pathways to work.

Generation Unlimited video

Meanwhile, two of the world’s leading supporters of young people each revealed that they would expand the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge in its second year.

“I am happy to announce that UNDP commits to host Youth Challenges and to scale up to at least 30 countries by 2020,” said Director of the Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, Ulrika Modeer. “It’s their time, their turn, their future.”

The World Organization of the Scout Movement also said it would support the initiative. “We commit to hosting a Youth Challenge in 2019 and promoting the initiative across our network of 50 million Scouts worldwide,” announced Secretary-General, Ahmad Alhendawi.

The challenge ahead is bold. By 2030 there will be 2 billion young women and men seeking opportunities for a bright future throughout the world. Every one of them will need education and training that match the evolving demands of employment, and support to engage with their communities as active citizens.

Yet there is cause for hope, said Henrietta Fore, because the passion of leaders in the room is matched by the determination and talents of young people themselves.

“This is what Generation Unlimited is all about, tapping the potential of young people everywhere, so they can improve their societies and their lives,” Fore explained.

“A massive generation is about to inherit our world. It is our duty to leave them a legacy of hope and opportunity, and to work with them to achieve it.”

Find out how you can join Generation Unlimited and make an impact for young people.