Caribbean Youth Think Tank Launched

May 21, 2013

21 May, BRIDGETOWN.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) concluded a five day workshop on Friday, with the launch of a Youth Think Tank (YTT) for the Caribbean at UN House. 

The workshop which focused on supporting Caribbean youth with to operationalise the YTT for the Caribbean was organised by UNDP Barbados and the OECS, in partnership with The Constellation Group NGO. Prior to the launch of the think tank, the Caribbean youth were given an opportunity to share their proposed operational plan with international development organisations including, UK Aid Department for International Development (DfiD) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

During the event, in addressing the participants UN Resident Coordinator, and UNDP Resident Representative, explained how the youth representatives from 14 countries in the Caribbean had ‘stormed’ UN House to build a dream for the Caribbean, shaping their vision for the future they want and setting out a road map on how it can be achieved. Ms. Michelle Gyles-McDonnough also outlined the commitment of the United Nations Development Programme for Barbados and the OECS, in ensuring that there is a space for voices of involvement and engagement in national and regional development.

An “Expression of Commitment” was signed between the 14 members of the YTT and UNDP (represented by Dr. Paula Hidalgo Sanchis, Youth-IN Project coordinator).

The commitment written by the YTT members reads:  “As a diverse body, the Caribbean Youth Think Tank, is united and committed to be a voice for youth.  With our energy and vision and through partnerships we strive to combat social ills and threats facing youth in the Caribbean. Our youth-driven initiative, seeks to foster continued progress in youth development through our core values:

Accountability; Communication; Teamwork; Inclusion; Opportunities; Networking.

We will create a space for youth where we build capacity for empowerment and innovation starting today.”

UNDP’s commitment, through the project “Youth-Innovation: A Caribbean network for youth development” (Youth-IN)” that supports Caribbean youth INclusion, youth INnovation, youth INterest and youth Involvement is: “Support the YTT for the Caribbean as a force for progress across the region; enable the YTT actions to support youth policy; empower the YTT as a team to push new thinking and actions to promote youth development; engage with the YTT to open doors for other young people to also make their contribution to sustainable development; and work with the YTT to achieve your dream for the future of the youth in the region.”

During the course of the week, each participant was asked to creatively outline their vision for the youth think tank.  A song, penned by, Mr. Mario Rose, was chosen by the group to be shared during the official launch. The newly elected members took an opportunity to perform the song to those gathered at UN House.  The song, entitled, “The CARICOM Song” will be used by the Caribbean Youth Think Tank for their advocacy and outreach.

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