Marking Human Rights Day with our commitment to Decent Work

Anita Tiessen
Anita Tiessen Chief Executive Officer Youth Business International

This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. The recovery must incorporate decent work which has become a universal objective and has been included in major human rights declarations around the world and is at the heart of Sustainable Development Goal 8.

Not only is decent work crucial to safeguarding human rights, it is also paramount to ensuring a successful and sustainable business, and even more so during this global pandemic. As young people confront the turbulent economic reality of unemployment and underemployment and the challenges of starting and sustaining a business, how can we help young people build successful, sustainable and responsible businesses? How can young entrepreneurs provide a safe and secure workplace, generate income for themselves and others and provide access to benefits—all of which have never been more important than they are today, and ensure they are contributing to a better post-COVID world. 
Based on the YBI network’s 20 years of experience, we are convinced that young entrepreneurs want to start and grow responsible businesses. We believe they have the desire, conviction and potential to promote and embed decent work principles in their businesses. We recognise that it isn’t always easy for a young entrepreneur to understand what decent work means for their business. Support is needed to invest in and embed these principles into their business models, growth strategies and ways of working. It is why the YBI network is committed to educating and equipping young entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools, and mentoring needed to create great and responsible businesses that assure decent work principles.  
YBI is embarking on a decent work agenda for young entrepreneurs thanks to the support of the IKEA Foundation. We are starting this effort through research and curriculum development with our members B’YEAH in Bangladesh and BYST in India. This research, curriculum and learning will be shared with our 50+ members across the globe and we intend to disseminate our insights more broadly. 
We recognize that training, mentoring and supporting entrepreneurs is not enough to make decent work a reality for all entrepreneurs in all contexts. We know more is needed: better policy and regulatory frameworks, increasing access to finance, better market information, and a more supportive enabling environment. As we socialise and embed decent work principles throughout our network to reach young entrepreneurs, we hope that you will participate along with us in the dialogue. We hope you will help us to build an enabling environment to make decent work a reality for all young entrepreneurs around the globe.  
We look forward to sharing our journey with you–and as a recognised UN partner for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8—we will continue to promote human rights through sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.  
To follow us as we explore and learn about decent work for young entrepreneurs follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

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