The Caribbean is considered a relatively youthful subregion. For every five persons in the Caribbean, two are under the age of 25. Nearly 7.5 million youth between the ages of 15 and 24 live in the Caribbean. This represents almost 17 percent of the subregion’s total population, with the largest population of Caribbean youth residing in Haiti (2.2 million), Dominican Republic (1.9 million), and Cuba (1.4 million).
With a large youth population, experts across the Caribbean agree that a clearly defined, long-term policy framework for youth development is urgently needed. Such a framework that lends support to locally-driven, sustainable development processes is essential for the sustainable development of the subregion.
In this context, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) subregional headquarters for the Caribbean has published a new policy brief, entitled “Implementation Strategies for Youth Mainstreaming in Sustainable Development Processes.” The summary provides an account of the status of Caribbean youth policies and considers how youth mainstreaming concepts can be applied constructively to strengthen sustainable development planning and strategies in the subregion.
The policy brief highlights the many opportunities associated with the demographic transition which the subregion is undergoing and underscores the associated prospects for economic and social progress, as youth possess tremendous potential to serve as agents of social and economic transformation. The brief introduces seven fundamental principles that are essential in harnessing young people’s potentials and fulfilling their rights, and which must be implemented within intergenerational equity and justice context.
These principles are:
- High-level political commitment and championship on policy implementation and youth investments
- Coordination systems for youth mainstreaming to improve synergies across policy areas
- Institutional capacity building for a more effective youth development process
- Participation and active engagement of youth in all phases of the National Youth Policy
- Implementation of results-oriented policymaking for integrated policy development
- Updating of National Youth Policies to cover new areas of youth development
- Adoption of a comprehensive knowledge-based approach in the development of inclusive and integrative youth policies
Caribbean countries are encouraged to adopt and implement these seven principles to promote the role of youth in and capitalize on their potential for contributing to national sustainable development.