The Global Forum on Youth Policies has re-affirmed support for the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY). In spite of obvious organizational and logistical challenges the forum has established a platform for enhanced global co-operation on and transformation of the Global youth development paradigm. However, to effectively transform the global youth development ethos from the prevalent deficit discourse and tokenistic approaches to a positive and transformational youth development paradigm the global youth movement/alliance must undertake to:
- Establish a multi-billion dollar global youth development fund to support youth development research, youth advocacy, human capital development, youth economic empowerment, youth innovation and political participation, among others.
- Actively support the revitalization and strengthening of independent and democratic youth networks and platforms.
- Implement a global and adequately funded strategy to revise, review, strengthen and re-position national, regional and international youth development agencies. This should also include facilitating the development of a professionalized youth development framework and culture.
- Establish an international working group or other relevant cooperation framework including the UN Agencies, Commonwealth Secretariat, Council For Europe, African Union, European Union, ACP among others to facilitate more unified and strategic interventions in youth development.
- Establish a Global Youth Empowerment Index or other relevant framework of standards/indicators to facilitate objective and independent assessment of global youth empowerment ethos. The agreed framework must be supported by universally accepted conventions mandating member countries of the international community to undertake biennial or triennial assessments and submit reports on the status of youth empowerment in respective countries. Independent multi-sectoral assessment teams should preferably undertake these assessments.
- The CARICOM Secretariat and OECS Commission must get their act together and, strategically position themselves to better support the regional youth development agenda. This must include providing or actively facilitating the provision of strategic support to independent and democratic youth networks and platforms.
- Youth development stakeholders must immediately act upon the recommendations of the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development, UNDP Citizens Security report, Eastern and Southern Caribbean Youth Assessment and other relevant recommendations to enhance the youth policy development environment and transformation of the regional youth development ethos.
- Actively engage with and support appropriate youth development initiatives by the University of the West Indies and other relevant academic institutions. In this regard the initiative by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Economic and Social Studies, Mona Campus to establish a Youth Cluster Research group must be actively supported. Continue to engage with this and other complimentary initiatives to strengthen the policy development environment through active research , knowledge development and credible monitoring and evaluation initiatives. This includes encouraging emerging collaborative efforts between Caribbean participants at the recently concluded Baku Forum and the SALISES 50/50 Youth Cluster to develop appropriate supporting protocols and initiatives for youth policy development in the Caribbean.
- Actively support SALISES 50/50 Youth Research Cluster proposed 2015 Regional Academic Conference on Youth Development.
- Without further delay undertake a comprehensive review of inter-agency cooperation in youth development and develop an functional strategic framework (Youth movement, Governments, Private Sector, Civil society and UWI )for active cooperation on regional youth development initiatives and agenda.
The storm clouds are gathering. The rising tide of dis-content may soon assume ‘tsunamic’ proportions. It is no time for subjective agendas, insularity and mediocrity among the youth development community. Let us seize this historic opportunity to transform the global, regional and national youth development. This is a vital and critical success factor to transform the prevailing climate of hopelessness and despair which has dampened the dreams of our post-emancipation heroes and threatens to derail the Caribbean Independence project. La luta continua!
Henry Wallice Charles