ACP YPN-CBM on youth & young people with disabilities in EU-ACP partnership

On 22nd March, ACP YPN and CBM International launched their joint paper on “Sustainable investments for youth and young people with disabilities: Putting youth at the heart of EU-ACP relations(disponible en français ici) at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Brussels. The joint paper takes the position that investing in all youth in the European Union – Africa, Caribbean, Pacific (EU-ACP) partnership is a sustainable investment. The joint paper puts forward 12 concrete recommendations for mainstreaming all youth – especially youth with disabilities – in three specific sectors: Education; Employment and Environment. It also makes three broader recommendations for the EU-ACP partnership:

1. Establish an annual inter-generational dialogue between young experts including those with disabilities and policy makers. This aims to foster inclusive policy-making.

2. Enhance data disaggregation across EU and ACP States to improve statistics on monitoring and evaluation. Decision makers must make use of the Washington Group set of questions to collect data on disability.

3. Implement diverse, simplified and inclusive funding modalities. This promotes a pluralistic approach including YCSOs, local CSOs and Disabled People Organisations (DPOs).

This paper also uniquely identifies the intersectionality of youth by adopting an inclusive approach – referring to all youth to guarantee that no one is left behind as stated in the United Nations (UN) Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. It explains that it is fundamental to continue to implement the ambitions of the EU-ACP Cotonou Partnership agreement, and to build its acquis in order to be better prepared for the expiry of the CPA in 2020.

See the videos of the ACP-EU MPs reactions to our paper:

MEP Michèle Rivassi, FR, introduces the ACPYPN-CBM paper

MEP Catherine Bearder, UK

Hon. Kiarie, Kenya

Hon. Sallah, The Gambia

Hon. MP, Ghana

Hon. MP, Botswana

Hon. MP, Vanuatu

Hon. Sallah, The Gambia introduces motion for joint statement on youth issues

Hon. MP, Ghana supports motion for joint statement on youth issues

The paper was drawn up based on three years of consultative processes by ACP YPN with youth in EU and ACP countries. Moreover, it also build on ACP YPN’s advisory role on navigating international organisations through understanding the linkage between youth and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and CBM’s expertise on disability inclusive development. It was compiled by June Lacour, Programme Coordinator, ACP YPN; Ariane Lignier, CBM (ariane.lignier@cbm.org);  and Yentyl Williams, Director, ACP YPN.

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ACP YPN represented at UN ECOSOC Youth Summit

For the first time, ACP YPN was represented at the 7th United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) Youth Summit by Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN, President and Founder. This year’s summit had the theme of “The role of youth in building sustainable and resilient urban and rural communities” and it was held on 30-31 January 2018 at the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN Headquarters, New York (NY). The Summit was preceded by the UN Youth Blast on 29 January and followed by the UN Major Group on Children and Youth (UNMGCY) strategy meeting, 01 February 2018.

The annual Youth Forum of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is a platform where young people can contribute to policy discussions at the UN through their collective ideas, solutions and innovations. There were also a number of breakout sessions, including on ‘SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption production patterns’ organised by UNIDO (30 January) and the regional break-out session for ‘Africa’ (31 January), as well as two side events on ‘Decent Jobs for Youth – The Global Initiative for Action’ organised by the ILO (29 January) and ‘Opportunities, barriers and challenges for meaningful institutional youth engagement at the UN’, organised by UN MGCY (31 January).

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ACP YPN launch partnership with One Young World

On 25th January, ACP YPN launched a new partnership as nominating supporter of the One Young World. With several ACP Experts and alumni already part of the One Young World, and given the mission of the organisation –  to gather together the brightest young leaders from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change – they are a natural partner of ACP YPN. Moreover, there are numerous scholarships and opportunities that are now open to ACP YPN members.

The first Scholarship Opportunity – All Bar None – is open until the 2 April deadline. It enables 125 young leaders from 125 countries to attend the One Young World Summit 2018. Eligibility criteria include being aged 18-30, having a clear passion for world issues and evidenced commitment to making positive change, and being a national of one of the 125 eligible countries listed via the application link here!

In particular, for this opportunity we are specifically looking for young leaders that have started or are leading an initiative, campaign, project or organisation for positive social change in the fields of education, peace, human rights, countering violent extremism, climate change, poverty alleviation and health.

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ACP YPN advise Youth Inter-Group on EU Multi-Financial Framework

On 10th January 2018, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN President and Founder, presented on ‘Areas for youth investment in the MFF post-2020 – Development‘ at the European Parliament’s Youth Inter-group hearing organised in collaboration with the European Youth Forum. Yentyl presented three main recommendations and supported these with examples based on ACP YPN’s experience.

1. Invest in youth-owned initiatives – example: Allocating budget for the Youth Forum at ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. ACP YPN created the Youth Forum with the EU and ACP Co-Secretariats, and and ACP YPN draws up the Youth declaration which is then distributed to EP and wider institutional, public and private sector stakeholders. This activity needs to be financed to ensure the sustainability of the Youth Forum since no direct financing is allocated to the Youth Forum, despite 4 sessions being held in Windhoek (Namibia), Nairobi (Kenya), St. Julian’s (Malta) and Port-au-Prince (Haiti).

2. Invest in mainstreaming youth expertise – example: Guaranteeing dedicated funding for youth-led CSOs. Guarantee membership for youth-led CSOs in structured dialogue with the EU institutions; as done by the EESC and DG Trade through including ACP YPN, and financing their participation, as members of the technical consultative committee monitoring trade between EU and ACP regions. This is already done on an ad hoc basis, for example through inviting youth CSO participation in the Africa-EU CSO Forum 2017, however youth-CSOs need to be guaranteed a permanent space to contribute to policy discussions.

3. Invest in youth exchanges – example: Finance ‘youth cooperation’ in the EU-ACP partnership by establishing College of Europe ACP scholarship. Foster exchange and partnership by establishing a specific scholarship which allows A-C-P students to benefit from a Masters’ programme at the College of Europe – similar to the scholarships that already exist for ‘European Neighbourhood Policy’ (ENP). This will encourage enhanced understanding and exchange between future leaders in the global South and North, while also tangibly investing in the legally binding partnership on ‘youth cooperation’ (Art. 26, EU-ACP Cotonou Partnership Agreement).

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ACP YPN’s landmark 4th Youth Forum of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Haiti

On 17th December, ACP YPN co-organised the 4th Youth Forum of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, with the EP and ACP co-Secretariats, in coordination with the Commonwealth Youth Council, the European Youth Forum, and COLEACP, in Port-au-Prince (Haiti). The Youth Forum was held within the framework of the 34th plenary session of the ACP-EU and it was inaugurated with opening remarks from Ms. Régine Lamur, Minister of Youth, Sports and Civic Action (MJSAC).

The outcomes included: (i) the 4th ACP EU Youth Forum Declaration (EN) and the French version, le 4eme Forum de Jeunes de l’APP ACP-EU ; (ii) the video summary of the Forum and (iii) for the first time in the history of the JPA, a youth representative was officially given 5minutes to present the declaration to the plenary. Mr. Rosny Cadet, President of the Haitian Youth Parliament presented the 4th Youth Forum Declaration here. (iv) ACP YPN also launched ACP YPN Caribbean at the 4th Youth Forum, with the support of the Youth Parliament of Haiti, the Youth Government of Haiti and several Haitian youth networks present.

140 youth participated in the 4th Youth Forum, which was inaugurated with opening remarks from Ms. Régine Lamur, Minister of Youth, Sports and Civic Action (MJSAC); Mr. Guy Serge Pompilus, Secretary General, National Commission for Innovation and Socio-Professional Insertion (CNIISJ – la commission nationale pour l’innovation et l’insertion socioprofessionnelle); Mr. Chery, Chairman, National Committee for Education and Youth and Yentyl Williams, President & Founder, ACP YPN were on the panel. The recommendations were made on four main topics: (i) education; (ii) youth participation and inclusion; (iii) entrepreneurship and (iv) employability.

See also, ACP YPN’s previousNairobi (2016) & St. Julian’s (2017) Youth Forum declarations. 

See all the official images of the Forum and JPA here. See the original invitation here.

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ACP YPN advise EP on future EU-Africa relations: Culture & Education

On the 23rd of November, ahead of the Africa-EU Head of States summit, Petra Kammerevert, head of the Culture & Education (CULT) committee, organised in conjunction with Africa Week an exchange on the Africa-EU Cooperation in the area of Education, culture and youth political engagement.

Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Secretary General and SDG5 expert, alongside Firmin Edouard Matoko, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Africa; Ugandan MP Hon. Jaqueline Amongin; and Pan-African Parliament Senator Joseph Obinna, OGBA Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, National assembly of Nigeria; MacDonald K. Munyoro, programs coordinator, National Association of Youth Organization (NAYO) presented the Abidjan Africa-EU Youth Declaration recommendations towards youth engagement and cultural. Celine emphasised the need to invest in cultural preservation of heritage to help towards a more integrated, understanding, respect and openness of others’ cultural differences within the limit of Human Rights.

Celine provided the MP opportunity to collaborate with youth to implement the Abidjan Youth declaration via the currently ongoing public consultation of Europeana – a digital platform for Cultural Heritage. She explained that in some instances the answer is not necessarily to create something new, but to improve something that already exist.

Having studied herself in 2 continents and 4 countries, she can only reinforce the importance that, in the context of the Africa-EU renewed partnership, the Diaspora role and importance to “channel positive change and effective cooperation between Africa and Europe”. See her full presentation here:

Her presentation was completed by Cynthia Mukendy ACP YPN Communication Strategist; who called on MEPs to view digitalisation as a development tool to promote and see Culture as an economic opportunity towards youth employment. See her full intervention here:

See ACP YPN’s recent declarations on the topics: Africa-EU CSO Forum Declaration
S&D Africa Week Youth Declaration
Africa-Europe Youth Summit Declaration
See ACP YPN contributions in the framework of the ACP-EU Cotonou agreement:
CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee Joint statement
Nairobi declaration
St Julian’s Action Plan

Want to know more about the Abidjan Youth Declaration? Contact & follow Celine via LinkedIn & Twitter

Want to know more about the digitalisation of Culture and the economic opportunities in that area? Contact Cynthia via LinkedIn & Twitter

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ACP YPN advise EP on future EU-Africa relations: Sustainable Investments

On 22nd November, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN President & Founder, presented at the EP High-level conference on a renewed partnership with Africa on the 2nd Roundtable: Attracting investments for sustainable and inclusive development and growth. The speakers included Pierre Heilbronn, Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD, Christophe Yvetot, Director of UNIDO Representation to the EU and ACP Secretariat, Lamberto Dai Pra’, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Australia for Enel Green Power, Issad Rebrab, CEO of the CEVITAL industrial group.

Yentyl began by welcoming the opportunity as a youth representative to present on the subject, given the importance and central theme of youth at the forthcoming AU-EU Heads of State summit. She made reference to her recent co-publication in ECDPM on ‘How to renew the EU-Africa Partnership through transcontinental youth networks’ and stated, “while the upcoming Summit on ‘youth’ is a unique opportunity to place youth integration and inclusion in policy and decision-making processes at the heart of relations between the African and European continents, the new strategy must be innovative, visionary and dedicated.”

First, the renewed partnership must be innovative through the development of joint objectives to ensure young people play an active role in the decision-making and the implementation of the partnership. She underlined the need to create spaces within institutions for youth – young business leaders, entrepreneurs and experts – to contribute and stated the example that ACP YPN has formally been integrated in the EU-Cariforum Joint Consultative Committee monitoring the Economic Partnership Agreement. She said this is best practice that needs to be repeated.

Second, it must be visionary by going beyond mere strengthening of relations on a nation-to-nation or region-to-region basis, but also through horizontal and vertical cooperation with youth civil society to support the reframing of social, economic and political values. She underlined that it may also be necessary to create new institutions for youth – young business leaders, entrepreneurs and experts – to contribute and stated the example that ACP YPN created the Youth Forum at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly to better connect youth and parliamentarians in the EU-ACP partnership. The Youth Forum has been institutionalized and now is an official body of the JPA, however there is no sustainable and dedicated financing to guarantee this remains youth-led and youth-owned. This is a lesson that dedicated financing is needed to support youth initiatives.

Third, it should be dedicated to harness the already innovative initiatives that young people are implementing to empower their peers – be it on entrepreneurship, education and political engagement – to bring a transformative change to our societies, which can adequately prepare us for the global and common concerns of our generations. Yentyl highlighted that every country should have an entrepreneurship strategy (as discussed at the ACP-UNIDO day 2017) and that concrete investments are needed in youth Human Resources (as discussed at EDD17 with COLEACP via the campaign #Agri4youth).

In conclusion, Yentyl stated that ACP YPN is ready to play its role with international organisations and the private sector for the sustainable inclusion of young experts, young business leaders and young entrepreneurs; in order to better connect youth and institutions for sustainable and inclusive development and growth because investing in youth is a sustainable investment.

See again her full intervention below:

See ACP YPN’s recent declarations on the topics:

Africa-EU CSO Forum Declaration
S&D Africa Week Youth Declaration
Africa-Europe Youth Summit Declaration
See ACP YPN contributions in the framework of the ACP-EU Cotonou agreement:
CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee Joint statement
Nairobi declaration
St Julian’s Action Plan

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ACP YPN advise EP High-level conference: Renewing the Africa-EU partnership

On the 22nd of November, ahead to the Africa-EU Head of States summit, Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, took the lead in encouraging other EU institutions and Member States to be more ambitious, going beyond the existing partnership and financial instruments. The conference was being organised in conjunction with, and with the participation of, key parliamentary committees and Members of the European Parliament. The Aim was for stakeholders including the Youth to contribute to strengthening the message conveyed by the European Parliament’s delegation to both the Parliamentary summit and the summit with Heads of States, AU & EU.

Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Secretary General and SDG5 expert, together with Firmin Edouard Matoko, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Africa; Giulio Rapetti (in art Mogol), Italian music lyricist; Sandie Blanchet, Director of the UNICEF’s office for the EU; Fabrice Le Saché, Co-founder of Aera Group & Up40 index coordinator at MEDEF international, was a guest-speaker in the third round-table on Youth & Human development. The roundtable was chaired by CULT Vice-Chair, Mircea Diaconu. There she presented the outcome of the Africa-EU Youth summit which took place last October in Abidjan. Celine started her intervention by reminding the audience that “Last October, 120 youth representatives gathered and worked intensively and collectively together; towards balanced and achievable recommendations.” That Youth engagement is not just about the future but also the present; she recognized that much has been done on both the EU & African levels to engage and integrate more youth into policy development. However she warned of the danger of concrete support and recognition of the value added by Youth and Youth organisations which leads to missed opportunities.  She called for the development of a concrete Africa-EU partnership where Youths are recognised as a partner; a vector of social, economic and political development for a sustainable present and future.

She went on to explain that the recommendations from the Abidjan Youth declaration are broad in terms of the issues but at the same time specific in regards to objectives to attain, so leaving enough room to include, for example, digitalisation as a key instrument to support implementation of those recommendations – which are intertwined. In other words, fulfilling one of those recommendations would have a positive spill-over effect, directly or indirectly, to another or multiple other recommendations.

She concluded by asking MEPs to take the Youth declaration and message to the highest level and to become “Youth Champions”;  echoing her panellist colleagues, as well as Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission, on the need to take actions not “for but with the youth”.

See her full presentation below:

See ACP YPN’s recent declarations on the topics: Africa-EU CSO Forum Declaration
S&D Africa Week Youth Declaration
Africa-Europe Youth Summit Declaration
See ACP YPN contributions in the framework of the ACP-EU Cotonou agreement:
CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee Joint statement
Nairobi declaration
St Julian’s Action Plan

Want to know more about the Abidjan Youth Declaration? Contact & follow Celine via LinkedIn & Twitter

Want to know more about ACP YPN mission and goals?

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ACP YPN ECDPM publication: Renewing the EU-Africa Partnership vis-à-vis youth

ACP YPN’s President, Yentyl Williams, and ACP YPN Secretary General published the article “How to renew the EU-Africa Partnership through transcontinental youth networks” in the European Centre for Development Policy and Management’s Great Insights magazine (Nov/Dec. 2017). The publication is available here.

ECDPM publication.jpg

The authors set the context: the African Union (AU) declared 2017 the ‘year of harnessing the demographic dividend through Investments in Youth’ and the European Union (EU) renewed its Youth Strategy; and this is timely given the focus of the AU-EU Heads of State Summit on ‘youth’ (November 2017). While they recognise that the Summit on ‘youth’ is a unique opportunity to place youth integration and inclusion in policy and decision-making processes, they do underline the challenges: the new strategy must be innovative, visionary and dedicated.

First, the renewed partnership must be innovative through the development of joint objectives to ensure young people play an active role in the decision-making and the implementation of the partnership.

Second, it must be visionary by going beyond mere strengthening of relations on a nation-to-nation or region-to-region basis, but also through horizontal and vertical cooperation with youth civil society to support the reframing of social, economic and political values.

Third, it should be dedicated to harness the already innovative initiatives that young people are implementing to empower their peers – be it on entrepreneurship, education and political engagement – to bring a transformative change to our societies, which can adequately prepare us for the global and common concerns of our generations.

In sum, they underline that strong partnership with youth organisations, including youth civil society and youth diaspora organisations, will be key for the revitalisation of the EU-Africa partnership. The article references several of ACP YPN’s landmark achievements to bring youth to the heart of the partnership, notably via the establishment of the Youth Forum at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly; via ACP YPN’s role monitoring the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as members of the EU-Cariforum Consultative Committee; as advisors to the AU Youth Advisory Board & the Diaspora Youth Task Force; as well as it’s co-organisation of the 4th Africa-EU Youth Summit.

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ACP YPN-CYC-CTLD submit Trade Inquiry to UK House of Lords

On 16th November 2017, ACP YPN, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) and the Caribbean Trade and Law Development (CTLD) provided evidence for the Inquiry the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade Out of Poverty (APPG-TOP) in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on the Commonwealth’s potential to help developing countries trade out of poverty. The contribution is available here. All submissions can be accessed here.

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This  ACP YPN-CYC-CTLD contribution offers a unique insight by recognising youth as negligible actors in the process of trading out of poverty. It also recommends that the Commonwealth countries work in closer coordination and partnership with key allies, such as the ACP group of states.

The contributors urge Commonwealth countries to leverage the capacities of youth as actors in trade, investment and local development, while recognising that there are a number of difficulties engaging youth, young entrepreneurs and youth business leaders. These include a lack of disaggregated data (age, non-GDP indicators), targeted financing, and linked to the broader issue of leveraging synergies between the full array of non-state actors for structured and effective interaction between labour, capital and social constructs of Commonwealth societies.

There are a number of recommendations in this contribution, including the need to: (i) foster entrepreneurship at the level of school education, which promotes citizenship values and building of soft skills, as well as innovation and creativity via incubators; (ii) promote the enabling regulatory and legislative environment for local MSMEs participation in sustainable industrialization processes through targeted funding, in an effective cycle of inclusion in consultation and monitoring; (iii) unlock the potential that lies in targeted investment in research activities, especially on harnessing the combined forces of the ACP group and the Commonwealth states to positively impact the evolution of the international trading system, its rules and regulations.

The Youth in the Commonwealth countries are the life blood of Commonwealth nations, yet, inter alia, there needs to be mutual recognition of diplomas and the creation of platforms to harness the youth contribution to trade, investment and local development in order to trade out of poverty.

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