Washington DC, August 12, 2014. The Young Americas Forum (YAF) is a program that was created more than a decade ago and its aim is to provide a space for young people of the Americas to be actively involved in the process of the Summits of the Americas. The Summit of the Americas is a continuous process between the Heads of State and Government from the 34 Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) and it takes place every 3 years in a Member Country of the OAS with the goal to define priorities and mandates of the hemispheric agenda. In 2005 during the IV Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, for the first time YAF was invited as prolocutor of the youth for the representatives of Civil Society. In this presentation, the YAF made recommendations to the leaders of the region and actively participated in the definition of priorities and mandates for Hemispheric Agenda. From this point, the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) with the youth of YAF decided to increase their efforts with the purpose of create a definitive space for the youth’s voice of the Hemisphere.
In 2009, more than four hundred young representatives of youth groups, associations and student movements participated in the YAF as part of the V Summit of the Americas. Starting this year, the youth finally could consolidate as a Social Actor with the same voice rights than the other members of Civil Society for each Summit and General Assembly in the framework of the activities of the OAS.
In 2012, the III Young Americas Forum in Cartagena, Colombia took place in where participated 148 youth representatives from 22 countries of the Eastern Hemisphere. For this occasion, young people engaged in work on 4 main lines of action; these are: (1) Inequality and Poverty; (2) Public Security; (3) Natural Disasters; (4) Access and Use of Technologies. To learn more deeply about the commitments agreed for each main lines of action as a follow up of III YAF, check the webinar.
In the last Summit of the Americas and in the Plan of Action of Cartagena, youth committed not only to demand action from governments but also assume responsibility to face the continent's challenges. For this reason, they decided to continue their activities through the virtual community of YABT Links to all young people in the Americas can contribute in the Activities Registry for the 4 main lines of action.
The Young Americas Business Trust, who has supported the young members of the YAF from conception, makes a call for all young people continue participating in the virtual community through the register of their activities. Prior to the XLIV OAS General Assembly (OAS GA), were registered almost 50 activities throughout the hemisphere in relation to the 4 main lines of action of the III YAF.
In 2014, as a prelude to the OAS General Assembly, the Youth Dialogue took place in the framework of the finals activities of the TIC Americas. After the plenary, the young attendees from various countries established a working groupto discuss and elaborate an executive report to be presented during the Social Actors Dialogue with the Heads of Delegation in the OAS General Assembly. It was thus, as the young people presented the Declaration of Paraguay.
As a following up of the XLIV OAS AG and prelude to the Summit of the Americas, the young participants of the Forum will be representing Youth as Civil Society Actor in the next Summit for the fourth consecutive time. Therefore, young people network should be proactive more than ever when it’s time to fulfill with their commitments and devise new commitments. The 2015 year is key because the deadline for the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals and because young people have the opportunity to influence decision makers in the definition of priorities in the hemispheric and global agenda.
For these reasons, YABT invites all young people of the Americas to join the virtual community to begin preparing the following steps for the next Summit of the Americas. This includes their contribution to the Activities Registry. YABT and OAS are entrusted that work hand in hand with organizations, groups and youth associations, youth can empower themselves and defend their interests more effectively.