Shaping the COVID-19 Recovery: Ideas from OECD's Generation Y and Z

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This article is part of a series in which OECD experts and thought leaders  from around the world and all parts of society  address the COVID-19 crisis, discussing and developing solutions now and for the future.

To keep updated on all of the OECD's work supporting the fight against COVID-19, visit our Digital Content Hub.

In the spring of this year, the OECD launched a call for its staff, consultants and interns from Generations Y and Z to volunteer some proposals on how countries can emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with a more resilient and inclusive system. We are proud to share 10 of the most innovative proposals. As the world grapples with a multifaceted crisis that will profoundly shape the years to come, these ideas outline the challenges as seen by the younger generations and capture their priorities for a better future.

The impact of this crisis looks set to be more severe than the financial crisis of 2007-2008, which had already harshly affected Generation Y. As agents of change, we trusted that they could contribute solutions. And they delivered!

The coronavirus pandemic represents an unprecedented global crisis, the scale of which will profoundly shape the world for years to come.  It is now becoming clear that younger generations will be among the hardest hit. The work of the OECD highlights that COVID-19, both during the public health crisis and the recovery phases, creates specific difficulties for younger people and for their future, from increasing levels of youth unemployment and the implications of rising debt for issues of intergenerational justice, to threats to the well-being of youth and future generations (OECD, 2020). Young women and men (15-24) already have less income at their disposal compared to previous young generations; they are 2.5 times more likely to be unemployed than people aged 25-64 (OECD, 2018), and less than half of young people (45%) across the OECD countries express trust in government (Gallup, 2019). Intersecting identity factors, such as sex, gender, race, ethnicity, and intellectual or physical disability, and socio-economic disadvantage may exacerbate the vulnerability of young people (e.g. homeless youth, young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs), young migrants).

More on the Forum Network: A lesson from discussing the COVID-19 job crisis with young policy makers: Listen! by Nicola Brandt and Nadja Nolting, OECD Berlin Centre

From the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OECD has been at hand to assist countries in responding to the crisis, for example through the launch of our COVID-19 Policy Responses Digital Hub. We also understood, however, that it was imperative to question and challenge our younger colleagues about the changes needed in the post-pandemic world. We thus invited them to examine the crisis from their own unique and diverse perspectives and come up with innovative policy solutions that provide concrete ways to help rebuild our societies and make them more resilient and inclusive. The impact of this crisis looks set to be more severe than the financial crisis of 2007-2008, which had already harshly affected Generation Y. As agents of change, we trusted that they could contribute solutions. And they delivered!

This unique exercise made us really proud to see the great response and the quality of the proposals that were submitted, not only by the finalists, but also by all the colleagues from Generations Y and Z who answered this call.

We want to congratulate the authors of the winning briefs:

  • After the pandemic: Harnessing new habits for a more sustainable world – Brilé Anderson, Marta Arbinolo, Elena Buzzi, Chiara Falduto, and Frithjof Laubinger
  • Carbon pricing for households: addressing inequalities through a credit system – Antoine Bonnet
  • Cohesion Services for inclusive growth and resilience – Louise Phung
  • Drawing lessons on digital from COVID-19: a call for action to the World Trade Organisation – Andrea Andrenelli
  • Empowering female leaders in science: The role of Generation Y and Z – Laura Kreiling
  • Enhancing Trust in Data – Participatory Data Ecosystems for the Post-Covid Society – Archita Misra and Julia Schmidt
  • Fostering resilience in the post-COVID-19 health systems of Latin America and the Caribbean – Gabriel Di Paolantonio
  • Inclusive Social Insurance for the 21st Century – Anna Vindics
  • Minimum Standard Framework for Textile Manufacturing – Philip Zaunders
  • Youth and Covid-19: Response, Recovery and ResilienceMoritz Ader, Gamze Igrioglu, Giorgia Ponti and Pietro Gagliardi

Read the winning briefs submitted by our staff, consultants and interns from Generations Y and Z

At the OECD, we believe it is vital that today’s younger generations are empowered to voice their concerns and hopes for a better future. In a world full of unknowns and uncertainties, with daunting challenges on the social, environmental and economic front, we need their commitment, their ambition, their vision, and their strong efforts to get better outcomes for people.

Laurence Boone
Chief Economist, OECD

Gabriela Ramos
Assistant Director General on Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO & former OECD Chief of Staff

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Laurence Boone

Chief Economist and Head of the Economics Department, OECD

Laurence Boone is the OECD Chief Economist and Head of the Economics Department since July 2018. Ms. Boone ensures that the Department is at the forefront of Economic thinking and will coordinate the work of the Country Studies and Policy branches to create new opportunities and enhance synergies and co-operation with the whole of the OECD, including through contributions to horizontal projects. Ms. Boone also supervises the contributions of the Economics Department to the New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) and Inclusive Growth (IG) initiatives. She is the Secretary General’s spokesperson on economic issues and serves as the OECD Representative at the Deputies’ meetings of the G20 Finance Track.


Go to the profile of Anthony Thomas Osambo
over 1 year ago

A good input