Author Archives: tgilbertroberts

About tgilbertroberts

Caribbean Regionalist. Youth Advocate. Human Development Practitioner.

What’s in a Celebration?

How important do you think it is to dedicate specific days, weeks or months to commemorating an event or celebrating a person, idea or goal? Throughout the year we are all encouraged to participate in activities to mark various national or international days of awareness, commemoration or celebration for various causes. Among them, are several times to celebrate the contribution of young people and pay attention to the diversity of concerns they have.

In August, we celebrated International Youth Day and in September, we celebrated Caribbean Youth Day, and each Caribbean country has organised, throughout the year, special events for youth during their own dedicated national youth month observations.

Do these celebrations make a difference? At 50/50 Youth we believe that everyday is a day to acknowledge and share good practice; to create spaces for people to speak up for their causes; and to speak up for those who need help sharing their ideas.

This November – celebrated as Youth Month in several Caribbean countries like Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis – SALISES will pay tribute to youth-led organisations and youth-serving organisations doing great things to improve lives. They are examples of groups which #LevelUp for young people everyday.

Level Up Jamaica Youth Month 2018

We hope you will join in the celebration and post your own tributes to people and groups who #LevelUp in Youth Development.


Happy International Youth Day 2018!

Happy International Youth Day from all members of SALISES 50/50 Youth!

Today we celebrate the positive energies and contributions of young people and thank all who create #SafeSpaces4Youth – whether physical, virtual, spiritual, emotional – so that they can continue to transform our world for the better.

Special blessings to young people across the Caribbean working for positive political, social, economic and environmental development.

The Caribbean Forum on Population, Youth and Development, 24-26 July, 2018


A technical forum is now underway in Georgetown, Guyana to discuss strategic directions for youth development issues in the Caribbean region. Follow the details HERE.

20180724_094018The Forum of youth leaders and youth development practitioners in government and civil society from 14 countries has been convened by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Government of Guyana.

Sessions include discussions on effective implementation of youth policies; progress on key population and development issues; mobilizing youth to advance the 2030 Agenda; and exchanges of best practices in youth development.

The opening discussion on “The Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes +20: A Progress Report on the Caribbean” provided an opportunity for stakeholders to comment on a very useful synthesis report on the state of youth policies in the region. The report was prepared by Catarina Camarinhas of ECLAC and Dwynette Eversley, International Youth Development Specialist and member of 50/50 Youth!!

Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts offered the following remarks on the report and suggestions for discussion during the Forum:

Remarks on “The Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes +20: A Progress Report on the Caribbean”

I come to this discussion from the perspective of a politician – that is, of a political scientist. 🙂 So my interest is in the elements of the report which relate to the governance and institutional framework for implementation and monitoring of youth policies.

From the valuable review presented – it appears that we have made some commendable progress in the region, in respect of the types of youth policies developed. There is at least an understanding of the importance of participatory, evidence-informed, results-oriented policy formulation processes. There has also been an increase in the profile of youth policies – though not sufficient – with evidence of effective national championing of youth policy. The 50/50 Youth Cluster at the University of the West Indies – which I represent is pleased by these developments and congratulates all governments and citizens.

However, the report has highlighted some challenges reported by member countries in relation to implementation and monitoring and evaluation – which I would like to suggest are priorities for discussion at the Forum.

Before I propose the priorities for discussion, permit me to just make a brief comment on the matter of conceptualisation of youth policies. I believe that the foundational ideas that inform our understanding of the nature and purpose of policy, ultimately affect implementation processes. Therefore, we must ask, what is a youth policy? The report notes that (p.66) “A national youth policy may be defined in simplest terms as the sum of all the initiatives aimed at young citizens….” (p.66). The report then goes on to give a more sophisticated qualification of that definition pointing to the essential features of an effective youth policy. However, many of us are still stuck on that first definition – youth policy as merely the collation of a list of activities targeting youth. But, if that were true, it would include some of the negative activities targeted at youth – gang recruitment etc 🙂

If we really wish to change the way we work towards positive development outcomes for young people, we need to view youth policy as more than a sum of activities. Youth policy must be seen as a political statement of the national consensus around the desired role of young people in society; a commitment to investment in their development as an imperative for sustainability; and as technical guidance to all government entities (as well as other stakeholders) on how to maximise that role. It is not a preventative measure, but rather, a catalyst for national development. When viewed in this way, youth policy directs us to look at Implementation and Monitoring and Evaluation differently. My broad priorities for discussion in this forum are:

1. Implementation

a. What is the status of the “Partnership Commitments” required by the WPAY for youth mainstreaming? Who are the partners and how are these partnerships being coordinated? How would the Caribbean Youth Platform play a role in coordinating inter-agency partnerships for development involving youth?

a. How are youth policies seeking to give direction to national development more broadly?We must now focus on building the professional and technical capacity of Departments of Youth Affairs to play that role of guiding development policy in a wide range of sectors and contributing to operational plans of other Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The Youth Officer may not necessarily engage as a sector specialist but as a youth worker with an understanding of the heterogeneity of young people; the best practices in engaging them; and the intersectional approaches required for positive youth development. In the areas of Environment and Climate Change, Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Legislation – which the review report highlights are not adequately covered in national youth policies –  how are youth Departments influencing policy-making in those areas? Do they have the capacity?

b. Coordinated and Sustainable Financing of Youth Development – Should we speak more about the Regional Youth Development Fund? Should we ask that national allocations from each line Ministry, Department or Agency be earmarked for young people, since everything is a youth issue?

2. Monitoring and Evaluation

a. Public Accountability Measures – how do we (and young people) access information about youth policy frameworks? And how accessible is that information to youth from a variety of linguistic, cultural and intellectual backgrounds? Public monitoring of policy implementation is as important as technical monitoring conducted by governments and other stakeholders in implementation. What role can various youth networks play in translating policy contents and progress updates for youth in a variety of contexts? What development communication tools should be used?

b. What role do the regional universities play in supporting M&E of youth policies and providing public information on the status of implementation? Is it time for a formal partnership on this?

Closing: As our populations age, as projected in the next two to three decades, we risk losing commitment to youth policy, if we do not establish its relevance through properly coordinated and integrated implementation.

NEW RESOURCE: The Missing Peace: Independent Progress Study on Youth and peace and security

The highly anticipated official Report of the Progress Study on Youth Peace and Security, called for under UN Security Resolution 2250 has been released. The report is entitled “The Missing Peace: Independent Progress Study on Youth and Peace and Security”

Drawing on a wide range of consultations around the word, including in the Caribbean, the study outlines the variety of ways in which young people contribute to peace and violence prevention and makes recommendations for sustaining peace through partnerships among citizens, governments and international and regional organisations.

Please read it here; share it widely; discuss and debate the findings and recommendations. Then, let’s advocate for the changes we want to make to the ways we work on “security” and “safety” in our communities, countries and regions. We can contribute the report’s recommended “seismic shift” in thinking and practice so as to recognise young people as the “missing peace” – an imperative to reaping a global peace dividend.

A longer version of the study will be released later this year which will offer more detailed findings and outline strategies for all stakeholders to engage with the agenda on youth peace and security (#Youth4Peace).

50/50 Youth is particularly pleased to share this report since our cluster Chair, Dr. Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts contributed to the research process as a member of the Advisory Group of Experts for the Study.

A Youth-Focused Commentary on “The Golding Report”

On Friday 16th February 2018, the UWI hosted a Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on “The Golding Report on CARICOM-Jamaica Relations”. The Forum provided an opportunity for a range of experts and commentators to outline their views on the recommendations made by the Commission and the implications for future engagement in CARICOM.

Chair of the 50/50 Youth Cluster Dr. Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts was one of the panellists and delivered remarks focused on the issues related to the the engagement of CARICOM citizens in the integration process, especially young people. Watch her presentation here:

Celebrating and Learning with Caribbean Youth Leaders #CYLS2017 #Yute4GPS






#CYLS2017 Participants with Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica; The Honourable Travis Robinson, Parliamentary Secretary in Ministry of Tourism and Aviation of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and Professor Trevor Munroe, Executive Director of the National Integrity Action. Photo Credit: National Integrity Action 

Members of the 50/50 Youth Cluster had the honour to support the 5th Caribbean Youth Leaders’ Summit #CYLS2017 in Runaway Bay, Jamaica from 30th September to 2nd October 2017.  The theme of the Summit was “Rerouting our GPS: Governance, Peace and Security”. #Yute4GPS

The Summit involved two tracks – one for youth capacity-building and strategy development (Youth Leaders’ Forum) and another for deliberation among key policy and financing stakeholders about how to support the youth development sector (Stakeholders Forum). 50/50 Youth provided technical and training support to both tracks, facilitating workshop sessions on Social Auditing, Youth Leadership in the Global South, Youth Mainstreaming to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Contextual Realities of Youth Empowerment. 

Director of SALISES Mona, Professor Aldrie Henry Lee also engaged participants via a plenary plenary presentation on “Reaping the Demographic Dividend: Child Poverty (Un)Employment and Social Inclusion”.

The summit was hosted by the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and received additional support from the UNFPA, USAID, National Integrity Action and SALISES, University of the West Indies. This is the second year of partnership between SALISES and the Caribbean Regional Youth Council convene the regional summit. As Chair of the 50/50 Youth Cluster, Dr. Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts, indicated in her Welcoming Remarks, the partnership with CRYC is an important element of SALISES’ work to support the formulation of evidence-based solutions to development challenges facing small countries.

We look forward to future collaborations with CRYC and wish the new executive, elected parallel to the Summit at the General Assembly, great success in supporting National Youth Councils across the region.

Measuring Development, Again…the Global Youth Well-Being Index

The International Youth Foundation has launched its Global Youth Well-being Index covering 29 countries. Sorry, no SIDS included in this one . However, have a look at it here:

There is increasing interest in producing quantitative indices to help measure the situation of young people and compare progress made across countries. This well-being index uses existing data from international sources (perhaps other youth indices) as well as data from a direct survey of youth. Indices can be powerful tools for policy dialogue and reflection on practice.

However, they don’t always help young people understand the local context of where they live. The SALISES #5050Youth Cluster has partnered with Ollin Jovenes en Movimiento, Mexico to localise the measurement of youth participation in the Caribbean region by creating an index which measures where and how young people participate in different sectors of society by surveying key institutions. In partnership with the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC) we have trained young people who will participate in compiling the index. Fundraising has been challenging #SmallStatesChallenges#FinancingDevelopmentResearch but partners like National Integrity Action in Jamaica are coming alongside and we hope to begin working on the Jamaica index soon.


Happy #InternationalYouthDay!

On this #InternationalYouthDay, I salute all young people who are working to transform the world into more inclusive, peaceful and sustainable home #SDG16. Acknowledging that the majority of young people, globally are peaceful and active contributors, in thought and action, to improving our societies, I celebrate all the peacebuilding work of #Youth4Peace and reaffirm the desires of Caribbean youth to maintain the region as a zone for peace. Happy International Youth Day! Greetings and support from all members of the SALISES YouthCluster #5050Youth

ECLAC Releases New Resources in English on Youth Social Inclusion

Many of us in the anglophone Caribbean remain isolated from our neighbours in Latin America, missing opportunities for ideational exchange, policy dialogue and solidarity in communities of practice. In spite of the socio-economic, cultural and linguistic diversity within the region, Latin America and the Caribbean suffers from the maintenance of unhelpful geopolitical divisions which hide historical ties and situational similarities.

That’s often been the case in youth development where we …. So, I was particularly pleased to have been able to participate last year in a seminar organised by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on Social Inclusion and Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean. I was joined by members of the Caribbean youth movement – Tijani Christian – Chairman of the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC); Tarun Butcher – Belize CARICOM Youth Ambassador; Renee Cozier – Researcher at the UWI St. Augustine; and Rashad Brathwaite – Legal Advisor to the CRYC.

Participants in the ECLAC Seminar on Youth and Social InclusionWe benefitted from dialogue with youth  development practitioners, researchers and youth leaders of grassroots, national and transnational movements across Central and South America. We took note of shared challenges – particularly between small Caribbean states and Central American states – in relation to youth crime and violence, educational quality and political and policy participation. We took note of the programmes and projects implemented in other countries and relished in their admiration of our ongoing efforts towards a regionally-coordinated youth development framework in CARICOM. I contributed a presentation on the situation of youth economic exclusion in the Caribbean sub-region – “From Addressing Youth Employment and Work Challenges to Promoting Youth Economic Citizenship” – arguing for a shift in the policy discussion away from exclusive focus on temporary responses to cyclical changes in economies to focus on the adoption of integrated approaches to youth economic citizenship which will encourage longer-term employment, financial inclusion and economic empowerment of young people.

One of the panels at the seminar presented interesting findings from a study conducted by ECLAC on educational, health, security and political dimensions of youth social inclusion in selected Latin American countries. We were fortunate to receive a copy of the study which we hoped to share with our anglophone CARICOM network – BUT it was only available, at that time, in Spanish!

However, ECLAC has now made the book available in English, along with a Toolkit on analysis and policy design for youth social inclusion. Please use the links below to download these resources:


Trucco, D., & Ullmann, H. (Eds.). (2016). Youth: realities and challenges for achieving development with equality. Santiago: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).


Soto, H., Trucco, D., & Ullmann, H. (2015). Towards the Social Inclusion of Youth: Tools for analysis and policy design. Santiago, Chile: United Nations/ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.