Strategic interventions for Bhutan’s unemployed youth

20 Nov 2013

Thimphu, 20 November 2013 – UNDP with the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR) held the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) workshop in the capital to  prioritize interventions for addressing youth unemployment in Bhutan. The workshop validated bottlenecks and prioritized strategic interventions on the action plan to address youth unemployment in the country.

Although Bhutan has achieved several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is on track to achieve most targets by 2015, progress has been lagging in a few goal areas including employment, especially among the urban youth. While the overall unemployment rate of 2.1 per cent remains low, there has been a growing concern around issues of youth unemployment among policymakers and the public.

Taimur Khilji, from the UNDP Asia Pacific Regional Centre (APRC) highlighted that the rate of unemployment in 15-24 age group is considerably higher than the overall rate of unemployment in Bhutan. Further adding that, “The issue of youth unemployment is acute in Bhutan’s urban areas especially among the urban female youth population.”

Speaking with Jamyang Galey, Director of Employment on the urban female unemployment issue, he replied that the MOLHR recently started a tailoring program for women, “We are looking at the hospitality sector, which absorbs more women.” This measure, he believes will be an immediate solution. He also added that the MOLHR is also strengthening the internship opportunities at the university level, “We have started university level internship programmes where young people can gain experience and exposure early.”

In conclusion, the UNDP and the Royal Government of Bhutan have agreed to apply the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) as a means to accelerate progress in overcoming youth unemployment. The workshop also sought commitment from the relevant actors to address and find suitable interventions for addressing Bhutan’s urban youth unemployment challenges.