The priorities that young people voiced at the ECOSOC Youth Forum

Washington DC, February 7th, 2016 - From January 30 – 31, the United Nations Headquarters were home to over 700 young leaders, advocates, representatives and organizations. The ECOSOC Youth Forum opened a diverse and safe space for global youth to discuss their priorities in their own voice.

There are currently more than 100 million young people – between 15 and 24 years old – in Latin America and the Caribbean; more than ever before in our history. During the forum and under the premise “nothing about us without us”, the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) facilitated along with Organismo Internacional de Juventud para Iberoamérica (OIJ) and the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC), an open dialogue to identify the challenges that youth are currently facing in their contexts. The conversation explored as well the policies and youth-led innovative solutions that are already being implemented in their countries.

The conclusions of the session on Latin America were presented by Luis Viguria, YABT CEO. These reflects the conversation held with the participation of representatives from government (Ministries of Youth and High level Authorities on Youth), civil society, international organizations (UN Agencies, Organization of American States, the Ibero-American Organization of Youth, the Young Americas Business Trust among others.) and young delegates from the region.

The conclusions highlight:

  • There is a need to include young people as real actors in all the stages of the development of policies and processes, and to stop seen young people only as the victims or the beneficiaries.
  • There is also the need to secure and create new and bigger sources of funding to support entrepreneurs.
  • There is a need to connect the education sector with the labor sector, and include in the discussion the private sector.
  • The support of young people is a responsibility of all the actors, we need to create and consolidate multi-sectoral alliances that include government, private sector, civil society and young people.
  • During the conversation, we address the impact of migration, security, inequality, and gender among young people and it was shared best practices implemented by governments and organized groups of young people.
  • There is a need to address the issue of NiNis and specially the focus of gender and education.
  • The second chances approach are necessary to be addressed, at all levels.
  • It is important to highlight the processes of youth participation already stablished, these include: The Young Americas Forum at the Summit of the Americas organized by the Young Americas Business Trust and the Organization of American States; the Ibero-American Youth Pact, organized by the Ibero-American Organization of Youth.
  • Initiatives such as the Youth Power that promotes the use of Positive Youth Development at all levels, the business Labs, Fondo Emprender from Colombia, la Casa del Emprendedor in Mexico among other initiatives are having great impact in the region.
  • There is a need to work with the demographic bonus and build the right competencies among youth to be able to be competitive and develop socially and economically.
  • Young people in all the regions have similar problems, solutions are not the same, but can be adjusted understanding the context.

“The active participation of young people is key to ensure sustainable decisions and inclusive policy-making processes. In an effort to incorporate youth, the Organization of American States (OAS) has opened an official space for their participation towards the Summit of the Americas. Since 2005, young people from all the OAS Member States have the opportunity to transmit their opinions regarding the Summit of the Americas theme and priorities, provide recommendations, express their needs, and present their actions, particularly through innovative solutions developed by young entrepreneurs” Mr Viguria said.

About the Young Americas Business Trust

The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) is a non-profit international organization, founded in 1999, which works in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS). YABT supports the objectives of OAS and the mandates of the Summit of the Americas to develop and execute programs and activities that promote the entrepreneurship spirit and leadership of youth in the Americas, fighting against poverty and creating more opportunities for young people. Join the action: www.yabt.net 

About the ECOSOC

Since 2012, the annual Youth Forum of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), has become a platform where young people can contribute to policy discussions at the United Nations through their collective ideas, solutions and innovations. The Forum allows representatives of youth-led and youth-focused organizations and networks, youth advocates and others to dialogue with Member States, and to explore ways and means of promoting youth development and engagement.