Resources and opportunities available for youth development in the Region are coming under the microscope as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat launches a Regional Youth Development Status Survey 10 years after adopting the CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan (CYDAP).
Set for roll out on 15 November 2021, the survey will collect data on challenges to youth development and the policies in place to enable them to thrive. It will also collect data on opportunities young people have for a sound education, employment and entrepreneurship, as well as factors that support their health and well-being.
The wide-ranging survey also seeks to gather data on young people’s knowledge about climate change and its impact on their sustainable economic development.
Data gathered through the survey will inform the updating of the CYDAP, which came on the heels of the landmark Declaration of Paramaribo on the Future of Youth in CARICOM, and the Report of the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development issued in January 2010.
In 2006, the Conference of Heads of Government mandated the establishment of a CARICOM Commission on Youth Development to “undertake a full-scale analysis of the challenges and opportunities for youth in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Established in March 2007, the Commission comprising youth leaders and technocrats, researched the state of youth in the Region and prepared its report, ‘Eye on the Future: Investing in Youth Now for Tomorrow’s Community’. The Report was presented to a Special Summit of CARICOM Heads of Government on Youth, held in Suriname in January 2010.
The Youth Commission advocated that youth should play a leading role in responding to globalisation and regional integration challenges. The Commission also identified a role for governments in implementing programmes and increasing investments in young people to mitigate their vulnerabilities.
To implement the main recommendations of the Report and the Declaration of Paramaribo, the CARICOM Secretariat established a Technical Working Group that coordinated a regional consultative process, which culminated with the CARICOM Youth Development Action Plan (CYDAP).
The Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD XXIII on Children and Youth), held in July 2012 in Guyana, endorsed the CYDAP, which is built on six CARICOM Youth Development Goals, namely:
Education and Economic Empowerment: Enhance the Quality of Life and Livelihood Opportunities for All Adolescents and Youth.
Protection, Safety and Security: Enable the Creation of Protective Environments to Foster Resilience and Ensure Adolescent and Youth Safety and Security.
Health and Wellbeing: Improve The Health and Holistic Wellbeing of Adolescents and Youth.
Culture, Identity and Citizenship: Enhance the Development and Appreciation of Caribbean Culture and Identity and Commitment to Regional Integration.
Policy and Institutional Framework: Create the Policy and Institutional Environment and Mechanisms to Support Effective National and Regional Implementation of the CYDAP.
Leadership, Participation and Governance: Ensure and Enhance Youth Participation at all Levels of Decision Making, Programme Implementation and Oversight.
Given current global, regional and national socio-economic issues caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, the Secretariat is now re-assessing the status of youth development in the Region through the Regional Youth Development Status Survey.
In addition to informing the expansion and revision of the CYDAP to respond to youth development needs more comprehensively, the survey data will also inform mechanisms to strengthen national and regional partnerships towards youth development.
The survey targets young people between the ages of 10 to 29 from all Member States and Associate Members of CARICOM.