In the city of Loja, on February 28, 2013, local authorities hosted the closing ceremony of the Joint Program "Youth, Employment and Migration" (JP-YEM), at which youngsters from the provinces of Azuay, El Oro and Loja exhibited their productive enterprises as concrete results of this program.
The JP-YEM had been running for three years and eight months thanks to the Fund for the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of Spanish government boosted through the UN System. The main goals of this program were to involve youth in the labor market through decent work opportunities and individual, familiar and associative economic enterprises, taking the economic potential of the provinces of intervention into account; to articulate national and regional youth entrepreneurial policies in order to prevent migration of youngsters and remove the structural causes of inequality; and to strengthen the systems that protect and promote rights of youth, focusing on labor rights and socio-economic inclusion.
This joint program featured two levels of implementation. On a national level, it articulated the work of several ministries and government agencies of Ecuador dedicated to issues regarding youth, employment and migration: the National Secretary for the Migrant – SENAMI, by its Spanish acronym – that was the lead government partner in the JP-YEM; the Social Development Ministry – MCDS, the Ministry for Labor Relations – MRL, the Ministry for Social and Economic Inclusion – MIES – and the National Secretary for Planning and Development – SENPLADES. Furthermore, at the territorial level it focused on strengthening the articulated work between the provinces of Azuay, Loja and El Oro and twelve municipalities (four per province), where youth unemployment and migration play significant role in local development. In addition, five United Nations Agencies participated in the JP-YEM: United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF (lead agency), the United Nations Development Programme - UNDP, International Labour Organisation - ILO, International Organization for Migration – IOM – and the United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA.
In 2012, UNDP’s Programme for the Articulation of Territorial Networks (ART) became responsible for the coordination of the implementation of the UNDP component of JP-YEM. The UNDP ART Ecuador Programme managed to maximize the impact of the actions planned in the framework of the joint program, by linking these to the already existing mechanisms in the territories (Azuay, El Oro and Loja) that have been developed within the ART Programme’s framework - Territorial Working Groups and Local Economic Development Agencies. Thanks to its interventions, the ART Programme contributed to inclusive development through the generation of 1134 youth enterprises (570 of them led by women), the financial and non-financial assistance to 1479 young business (of these, 1,142 young women), the strengthening of 18 local financial institutions and of 3 Local Economic Development Agencies to provide services to local youth; the creation of a system that supports entrepreneurship and local economic development; and the transformation of the National Programme for Popular Finances to the National Corporation of Popular and Solidary Finances.