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Caricom Heads to endorse youth-focused proposals

GEORGETOWN, Guyana--Caricom Heads of Government pledged to "explicitly recognise and clearly articulate the role of youth in Caribbean development" on the occasion of a Special Regional Summit on Youth Development held in Suriname recently.
In a declaration, the Heads said they are conscious that regional integration holds the key to optimal development of small developing countries of the community. They said since the majority of the region's population is under the age of 30 they believe that young people possess the essential elements of societal change, technological innovation and development and that they are invaluable assets and partners in development and not problems to be solved.
Caricom welcomed the United Nations proclamation of 2010 as the International Year of Youth which gives heightened importance to this first Special Summit and the report of the Caricom Commission on Youth Development.
In the Paramaribo Declaration on the Future of Youth in the Caribbean Community the heads said they intend to "explicitly recognise and clearly articulate the role of youth in Caribbean development in the amended Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas; and to ensure that this role is enshrined in national and regional development strategies, together with provisions for youth mainstreaming, youth-adult partnership and youth participation across all sectors."
The Heads said they will also support actions aimed at establishing a clearly defined research and policy agenda as the framework for empowering and developing youth in the region, informed by several research papers undertaken for the Caricom Commissioners on Youth Development and complemented by a central mechanism for storing and analysing research and best practice data; and supported by development partners and donors in the region.
The Heads also said they are committed to initiatives to create a mass movement of young people in support of regional integration and to shape a sense of common identity and destiny through mechanisms and strategies such as ICT, youth-led advocacy and peer sensitisation networks, youth exchanges, sports and culture.
They also pledged their full support for Departments responsible for Youth Affairs and for developing, by mid-2011, comprehensive restructuring plans informed by regional guidelines which include coordination of youth development initiatives nationally; mainstreaming youth; strategic planning and evidence-based/research driven programming, forming strategic alliances and implementation partnerships with youth organisations/NGOs/CBOs and development agencies; coordinating the implementation of the Regional Strategy for Youth Development; and translating regional policy into national action.
They also committed to take account of the gender dimension in all programmes aimed at youth development and empowerment and to embrace the role of the media as a responsible partner in all efforts to empower and develop young people.
The Heads also said they would endorse proposals in consultation with regional and international agencies and donors, the modalities for a sustainable regional mechanism for financing the operationalisation and implementation of the commitments arising out of the Special Summit; and for strengthening the capacity of the Caricom Youth Desk to provide oversight of the implementation and monitoring of the Regional Strategy for Youth Development and of this declaration.
They also declared their strengthened resolve to scale up initiatives to commemorate International Youth Day set for August 12 and Caribbean Youth Day set for September 30. (Stabroek News)
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