Washington, D.C. October 29th, 2015 – undoubtedly this year has been marked by historic events in which youth has played a crucial role. The VII Summit of the Americas and the IV Young Americas Forum, in Panama; the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Peru; the Organization of American States General Assembly (OAS), in Washington D.C.; among others, are the some scenarios that were supported by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), making the voice of youth be heard.
The VII Summit of the Americas
More than 5,000 young participated of the IV Young Americas Forum. It was the first official event in the framework of the Summit of the Americas in which Cuban citizens were present, making a historic milestone for the Hemisphere. The Forum, as a official space for the young participation in the Summits, was the concrete opportunity to publicize their concerns, necessities, proposals, innovative actions, and visions about the “Prosperity with Equity: The challenge of Cooperation in the Americas”, Central theme of the VII Summit.
It should be noted that the Young Forum was the sole space where a Consensual Declaration was achieved in Panama. Young debated on the entrepreneurship, education, democratic governability, citizen inclusion, migration, and security during the previous 8 months before the meeting –April – in Panama. In there, participants built collectively the Young Americas Declaration, Panama 2015.
Youth and Education
In this document, young posed solutions on the social problems that affect their communities, demanding follow-up to the public policies and actions developed by the State Members of the OAS in which they want to get involved. Such is the case of the presented Declaration of the Education Workgroup that wanted to be considered in the development of the Inter-American Education Agenda. YABT conducted that demand so the youth thoughts could be part of the input for the Construction of that Agenda; a virtual consultation and dialogue with experts in education ended up with a Report, which was presented to the Ministers of Education during the Construction of an Inter-American Education Agenda Reflection Day.
Youth and Sustainable Development
Sustainable Development was another topic that recently achieved a “United Young Americas for the Sustainable Development Declaration”, presented during one Dialogue with the Civil Society that took place in the framework of the Sustainable Development Senior Officials Meeting in Tela, Honduras. This is another example of the follow-up made upon the proposals presented by the Environment Workgroup, in April.
Youth and Social Inclusion
The Youth and Social Inclusion Topic emerges from the IV Young Americas Forum and the need to work together with people with disabilities on different aspects regarded by the Organization of American States (OAS). This is the reason why the People with Disabilities Social Inclusion Project (OAS Accessible) was presented to the new OAS Access to Rights and Equity Secretariat. In such a way, YABT warranties and leads youth towards the access of information and OAS contents for people with disabilities.
Youth and the Original Towns
For the first time during the Summit of the Americas, young members of original towns were part of this event, giving them a space for raising the voice. They wrote an “Original Young Declaration”, which was delivered to the presidents of the State Members. This was a historic Forum, where voice was given to those who didn’t have.
Annual Meeting of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund
Another historic milestone was the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that after 50 years took place outside Washington, D.C –held in Lima, Peru. Jim Kim, President of the World Bank, was the keynote speaker of the event that welcomed more than 500 people in order to dialogue about youth and entrepreneurship. “Young Entrepreneurs: Drivers of Sustainable Growth” was the name of this event, which had a 4-month-long work background with youth from 43 countries. These meetings aimed to get to know the successful stories of the young people so they could be presented internationally.
The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) coordinated the development of one report that shows how youth has become in an important driver for innovation, economic growth, and positive impact in society. This report was made by the participation of thousands of young who sent their opinion through any of the channels that YABT made available during previous months before the Meetings: 3 global dialogues –English, French and Spanish; 25 national dialogues covering the 5 continents and more than 1.000 responses from the virtual consultations.
OAS General Assembly
Another event where youth was represented was the Organization of American States General Assembly. One of the main goals of YABT is to include youth into the OAS processes as drivers of change. Their voice was aimed to be included in the consultations about “The present and future of the OAS”, having a central question: “what is the role of youth?” considering the new OAS stage, in which H.E. Luis Almagro has been elected as new General Secretary.
Youth made their recommendations regarding the OAS Pillars and were heard by the Highest Authorities of the Organization and Delegation Heads; this made their voice reach each corner of the hemisphere. Prior to the 45 Assembly, YABT held two virtual dialogues and one online survey where hundreds of participants from the hemisphere contributed to this new OAS cycle.
Organization of American States General Assembly
In the framework of the UNO Assembly, 193 global leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in order to achieve within the next 15 years: 1. No poverty; 2. Zero Hunger. 3. Good Health and Well-Being; 4. Quality Education. 5. Gender Equality. 6. Clear Water and Sanitation. 7. Affordable and Clean Energy. 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth. 9.- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 10. Reduced Inequalities. 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities. 12. Responsible Consumption and Production. 13. Climate Action. 14. Life Below Water. 15. Life on Land. 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. 17. Partnerships for the Goals. These are the goals that young have to take as reference; YABT will also be there, accompanying them in the pursuit of consecution on this topic.
All the spaces generated by youth are the reflection of the commitment that YABT holds for the growth, development, empowerment of youth in the Americas. Let’s strengthen efforts in order to generate more inclusion spaces and assure that the voice of youth is taken into consideration in every action on policy and decision in the hemisphere.