(NATCOM) – Basseterre, 23 September, 2016: The National Commission for UNESCO joins with the Commonwealth in congratulating the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, and more specifically the Department of Youth Empowerment on its progress in the development of a Federal Youth Policy and Strategic Plan.
The document will guide policy makers in relation to Youth participation and issues in every sector of their development as part of the National Development Agenda while the strategic plan outlines the way forward in making this a reality. This would include setting priorities and setting intended outcomes; managing energy and resources and ensuring that stakeholders are working toward a common goal.
“The recent arrival of Commonwealth Youth Consultant, Dwynette Eversley, to oversee the process is significant as UNESCO has been a long-term partner in the advancement of the Federal Youth Policy and is pleased to see active steps in this regard,” Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Antonio Maynard says.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Youth, Hon. Shawn Richards, highlighted the importance of international agencies such as UNESCO and the Commonwealth, in sharing their expertise to ensure that these policies are “robust, current, and meet the needs of the young people in the Federation for the day and age in which they live.”
The Minister stated further in support of this view, “it must take into account all of the changes in the socio-economic landscape of our country and consider recent developments at the international level on issues such as Globalization; Human Rights; Freedom of Expression; Gender Equality; Climate Change, Universal Secondary Education and the advancement of Information and Communication Technology.”
The Minister further thanked UNESCO, which through its Participation Programme helped the collaborative effort with technical assistance and funding for drafting and reviewing the Draft Federal Youth Policy with a view to strengthening its design and content to ensure that it is concurrent with international best practices while being true to the Federal situation.”
Commonwealth Consultant, Dwynette Eversley, who also commended the Government for its decision to pursue the finalization of the Youth Policy Initiative, agreed that the policy was a priority in on the national development agenda.
“When we say that it (National Youth Policy) consolidates all national initiatives we begin to understand that we are establishing a blueprint for cross sectional cooperation, for more accountability, management of human and financial resources so that what we do for young people can be measured and we can see the success outcomes. Youth policies are the sum of all national initiatives across all sectors,” Ms. Eversley stated emphatically.
Equally passionate about the finalization and implementation of the National Youth Policy Junior Minister (Youth, Social Development, Community Development, Sports, BNTF, People Empowerment) in the Nevis Island Administration, Hon Hazel Brandy-Williams, stated “A Youth Policy is very essential. It is a guiding document; a point of reference for youths, youth groups, and practitioners. It is also an essential tool for success for any Minister of Youth and for every Government.”
Secretary General of the National Commission For UNESCO Antonio Maynard is pleased with the emphasis placed on partnership by Deputy Prime Minister Richards in his closing remarks at the launch when he appealed to all youth groups, youth serving institutions, NGO’s and Faith based organizations as well as all stakeholders engaged in interventions catering to youth to be enthusiastic about the venture.
Mr. Maynard explains that partnership is at the heart of UNESCO’s operations and has resulted in many successful programmes. He added that UNESCO would continue to work along with Governments and Organizations by providing its expertise and is looking forward to the approval of the Youth Policy and its implementation in the not too distant future.
He added that the recent visit to the Federation by Director of the UNESCO’s Jamaica Cluster Office, Ms Katherine Grigsby, emphasized that very close collaboration that would exist with UNESCO and the countries of the region with the recent strengthening of its operations by employing specialists for each of its focus areas as well as the coming implementation of the Special Initiative for the Caribbean (drafted by the UNESCO Jamaica Cluster Office).
UNESCO is providing financial resources towards the Youth Policy initiative, in addition to other coordinating and technical support from the UNESCO Paris office; Jamaica office and National Commission for UNESCO. The Commonwealth is providing technical assistance by having Ms. Eversley on the ground for six months.