CARICOM ASG highlights progress in Youth Development

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Progress has been made in youth development in a number of areas in the Region. Assistant Secretary General in charge of human and social development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr Douglas Slater made the point during the opening ceremony for a CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Orientation and Capacity Building Workshop at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, which concludes today.
One achievement being a CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan that was developed and endorsed by Youth Ministers at the Council for Human and Social Development in 2012. Dr Slater said the plan has six CARICOM Youth Development Goals as its centrepiece.
He also noted that 13 of the CARICOM Member States and Associate Members now have updated National Youth Policies and that 17 CARICOM States participated in the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Programme.
Dr Slater also pointed out that 13 countries have established National Youth Councils or National Youth Parliaments. He said another development was the establishment of the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC) by the Commonwealth Youth Programme, which has increased the regional representation and involvement of youth.
Other speakers included Dean of the CARICOM Youth Ambassador Corps (CYA), Charde Desir; Paolo Marchi, deputy Representative of UNICEF for Guyana and Suriname; Lisa Martinez, National Operations Manager FAO, Trinidad and Tobago; and Minister in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, Guyana, Hon Nicolette Henry.
The CYA Dean said he hoped similar workshops would be a regular occurrence for the CYAs. He also stated that the youth were not just leaders for the future but the leaders of today with many talents and skills that need to be utilised by the Region.
Minister Henry in her address said the youths were the backbone of the Region and they can change the future but they must be guided.
“The vision of this Region lies in the hands of our young people and this workshop is a bold step,” Minister Henry said as she  expressed hope that the draft action plan that
will be developed will clearly indicate the way forward for the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Programme.
The CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme (CYAP) was launched in 1993 as part of the 20th Anniversary celebrations of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas. The CYAP is the Community’s mechanism for facilitating youth participation and partnership in the regional integration process and in national and regional development. The Programme is coordinated by the CARICOM Secretariat, facilitated at the national level by Departments responsible for Youth Affairs and implemented through multiple networking and collaborative relationships with stakeholders.
The Community’s youth agenda is guided by the Declaration of Paramaribo on the Future of Youth in the Community, which was adopted by CARICOM Heads of Government at their Special Summit on Youth Development held in Suriname in January 2010. That Special Summit was convened to discuss the Report of the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD) entitled Eye on the Future: Investing in Youth Now for Tomorrow’s Community, a seminal report on the situation of youth in CARICOM.

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