Commonwealth Youth Programme South Pacific
12 August, 2008 - INTERNATONAL YOUTH DAY
To mark International Youth Day, Commonwealth Youth Programme South Pacific (CYPSP) Regional Director Ms Afu Billy writes on why we should be working with young people to create better futures for all.
“Young people make up nearly half of the populations of the Commonwealth countries and are an asset to their nations. Young people are fresh, vibrant and strong. They have energy, strength and creativity which can be used by governments and other non-government stakeholders for their country’s and communities’ development; and used in their own lives to work toward empowerment.
“The problem in many of our Pacific nations is that we leaders play a great ‘lip service’ but do not follow through. Many of the sentiments we speak of are never realised. Young people need to be empowered.
“However, empowerment does not just happen to young people. Adults, especially those in positions of power, have a very important role in the empowerment of young people. It’s vital they work to create conditions – economic and social – which enable that empowerment to develop.
“Why should young people be empowered? Because between 50 and 70 percent of the developing world’s population is under the age of 30. Around 45 percent of the Commonwealth population live in poverty, on less than US$2 a day; young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults are. Pro-poor strategies must be pro-youth. This vast human resource should be used and not squandered.
“In much of the developing world the youth population will be extremely high in the years leading up to 2015. This is a great economic opportunity – young people will be having fewer children which means they will be more productive with fewer dependents to care for.
“However, young people will only benefit if governments and the private sector invest in young people. If we leave things the way they are now, young people will continue to be the largest ever unemployed group in society.
“CYPSP would like Pacific governments and non-government and civil society organisations working in the Pacific, to start working towards youth empowerment and start taking an ‘assets-based approach’ to youth development.”
For more info on the role Commonwealth Youth Programme South Pacific is taking in empowering young people, including a copy of the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment, contact Media Intern Tessa Johnstone on firstname.lastname@example.org or (Solomon Islands) 677 38374.
Commonwealth Youth Programme South Pacific
PACIFIC YOUTH POPULATION FACTS
The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE)
PAYE promotes an assets-based approach to youth development based on the following:
‘Young people are empowered when they acknowledge that they have or can create choices in life, are aware of the implications of those choices, make an informed decision freely, take action based on that decision and accept responsibility for the consequences of those actions.’
Empowering young people means creating and supporting the enabling conditions under which young people can act on their own behalf, and on their own terms, rather than at the directions of others. These enabling conditions fall into four broad categories:
[The Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment 2007 – 2015]
A copy of PAYE is available for download here:
Commonwealth Youth Programme South Pacific Regional Youth Caucus (RYC)
YOUTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE: TIME FOR ACTION
Climate change is having far-reaching impacts on young people across the Commonwealth. Young people are especially vulnerable to food shortage and the rising costs of food. Young people are disproportionately affected by conflict, including conflict caused by the inability to share natural resources. Young people feel keenly the loss of environments for both livelihoods and recreation. For these reasons, we, as young people, seek to add our voices to the call for every effort to be made by governments and international bodies towards climate stabilization.
With the support of governments and international bodies, young people can be a great force of positive change.
Young people can be the solution to many environmental concerns. Sixty per cent of the population of the Commonwealth are aged under 30 years. If all the young people in the Commonwealth and represented by the Pan-Commonwealth Youth Caucus representatives formed a country, we would be the second largest country in the Commonwealth (after India) and the third largest country in the world, ahead of the USA.
On this International Youth Day, we commit ourselves, as a Caucus of youth agenda advocates, to believing in generations beyond our own and to taking action now to ensure the world is cleaner for them.
We call on decision makers to recognize and engage with young people to make positive change.
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