YOUTH POLICY INITIATIVE CLIMAXES WITH NATIONAL CONSULTATION NEXT WEEK

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 24, 2017 (SKNIS): More than 200 persons representing the public sector and civil society will give a final review of the Draft Federal Youth Policy as officials in the Department of Youth Empowerment finalize plans for a national consultation.

Vernon Connor, Special Advisor to the Minister of Youth, said the National Consultation on the Federal Youth Policy 2017-2022 will be held on Tuesday, March 28, at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and is one that is greatly anticipated by youth staff within the Federal Government and the Nevis Island Administration (NIA). The symposium signals the climax of the Federal Youth Policy Initiative that was launched in October 2016.

As part of this initiative, public consultations were held throughout the Federation on a draft document that was compiled in 2013. Mr. Connor said it served as a good springboard and that officials are pleased with the updated document.

“We have addressed human rights for young people,” he stated. “We know that youth rights are human rights so we have addressed those rights. We have addressed matters pertaining to the ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) and mass media and the involvement of our young people, our young people becoming digital citizens. We are also looking at gender equality. That has been a burning issue on the table today in every international sphere and St. Kitts and Nevis does not want to be behind in terms of seeing our women being elevated in society.”

The special advisor noted that he was looking forward to presenting the document at the symposium next week as it will be the final and grandest in this process.

“We have contacted 50 youth groups from around the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and we are bringing about 100 [persons] from Nevis over to St. Kitts to attend this consultation,” Mr. Connor stated. “Not only are we inviting our young people but there are important stakeholders who partnered with us through the entire process of putting this policy together.”

These include representatives from non-governmental organizations, faith-based institutions, business organizations and senior members of government. Representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and the Commonwealth are also expected to attend. UNESCO provided financial support for the Youth Policy Initiative, while the Commonwealth facilitated the six month attachment of youth expert, Dwynette Eversley, who guided the work of the Youth Policy Steering Committee and related policy activities. Support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is also expected to provide assistance in brining the finalization process to a close.

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