The UN’s sustainable goals adopted on September 2015 target the main issues concerning the international community, such as:

  • Poverty, hunger and inequality
  • Protection of human rights
  • Gender equality and empowerment of women and girls
  • Protection of the planet and its natural resources
  • Sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth
  • Prosperity and decent work for all

These respective international issues have been at the heart of various panel discussions between Government, civil society and other stakeholders at the international and national level. These topics are regarded as the epicenter of the biggest challenges from today and tomorrow’s world. Due to the underlying interconnection regarding one another, they shall not be solved separately but, in fact, rely on each other to remedy every matter at hand.

The UN seeks to implement its sustainable goals by the year 2030. These goals are in place to attain protection of human rights along with international development and global economic growth. This would be an ideal result in which currently a fifth of the developing world’s population  “goes hungry every night […] and a third lives in a state of abject poverty” (UNDP). This is the case where almost half of the world’s population survives on less than $2.00 dollars per day (Gallup). This immense scale of marginalization raises serious questions of goal attainability.

Some surveys demonstrate that the current system has not provided the solutions needed. Others note, “what the whole world wants is a good job” (Jon Clifton: Gallup). This not only regards a job in which a person is able to satisfy their basic needs, but also a job which allows every human being to actively participate in the so-called “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth” (UNGA Resolution 70/1).

However, to get a job classified as desirable or good, an individual requires knowledge and specific skills to successfully fulfil its requirements. Work quality, therefore, is linked to the level of education it requires. Both work and education have been declared as universal human rights and are also essential to the development and the contributing factor to the economic growth of a nation.

 After the global economic crisis commenced in 2008, the topic of jobs and education has been placed in the center of private and public sector debates. This has been the case even with the deliberate disregard of the advances in our technology-focused world. Fortunately, Diplomatic Courier (one of the newest Atlas Corps Partner) has organized a forum on the nexus of jobs and education, through the 3rd annual Global Talent Summit: the future of jobs & education. Hosted by Gallup on January 13th, 2016 this forum analyzes the role of human capital and education while taking into account the ever changing technology and its role in our world in 2050.

Nowadays global unemployment is at 5.9% according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), and 40% of the world’s unemployed are in fact young adults 18-25 years old. If we continue to implement the current system the risk of those numbers increasing will be imminent. Andrew Mack from AMGlobal during the Summit has said, “We need a new way of looking at employment based not on preparing young adults to join the current way of work – which values experience and age – but a new dynamic structure based on youth that values the capacities and energy they bring; an accessible system that is for a large number of new entrants that are coming soon”.

This leaves us questioning whether new generations will be prepared enough to fit in the 2050 job market. During the Global Talent Summit, Edith Cecil from the Institute of International Education (IIE) gave us some facts we must consider. Due to globalization, the way the world works is changing. Employers are increasingly seeking workers with international skills and overseas experience. They are also looking for candidates who understand other cultures and can work in multicultural environments. This is the very reason IIE launched an initiative to double the number of American students studying abroad. Other programs such as Erasmus Mundus in Europe, seek the same increase in international education mobility.

These are great initiatives, but believe it or not, 2050 is rapidly approaching. If we are unable to change now, the issues we have been facing over the past years will catch up revealing dire consequences. We will essentially create an “effet boule the neige” (snowball effect), and these negative consequences could climb in numbers at a rapid rate, affecting us as well as future generations. To avoid the inevitable, we will have to start taking action now to positively influence each matter at hand. Jobs and Education seem to be the “perfect duo” at the fundamental level to combat poverty, hunger and produce economic growth, which indirectly makes the earth sustainable. However, we have to figure out real strategies to guarantee everyone equal access to these core solutions regarding education and jobs where “no one is left behind” (as the UN’s sustainable goals try to ensure). This leaves us with the begging question of whether or not this plan of action is in fact feasible. Only time and pulling our resources to address these two core issues will allow us to overcome negative effects impacting the global community in every regard.