The CFS calls for the development of systems, policies and programmes that engage more youth in agriculture and agricultural professions. Their development will constitute a workstream that will strengthen recognition of youth agency, autonomy and diversity in relation to food security and nutrition.

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The CFS MYPoW for 2020–2023 requested the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) of the CFS to prepare a report that would (1) review the opportunities for and constraining factors to youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems, (2) examine aspects related to employment, salaries and working conditions, (3) review rules, regulations and policy approaches, including territorial approaches, aimed at addressing the complexity of structural economic, cultural, social and spatial transformations currently taking place globally, and (4) explore the potential of food systems and enhanced rural–urban linkages to provide more and better jobs for women and youth.

Drawing on the findings of previous HLPE reports over the past decade, as well as the broader scientific literature, this report’s offers some important take-home messages:

  • Youth are on the front lines to build the food systems of the future, while also bearing significant risks from climate change, social and economic inequities, and political marginalization.
  • Food systems provide a wide spectrum of opportunities for the engagement and employment of young people across diverse global contexts, but these jobs do not always provide decent and meaningful work or adequate livelihoods.
  • In response, policies and initiatives to protect and strengthen youth engagement and employment in food systems need to be based on the pillars of rights, equity, agency and recognition. The redistribution of resources, knowledge, and opportunities for youth innovation and engagement in the development of context-specific employment and labour policies can not only contribute to creating jobs for youth but can also directly support transitions to sustainable food systems.

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