ACP YPN at the European Development Days (EDD) 2018

On the 5th and 6th June 2018, for the third time, African Caribbean Pacific Young Professionals Network (ACP YPN) sent a delegation of 14 ACP YPN Youth Ambassadors to the twelfth edition of the European Development Days (EDD), the biggest European development forum gathering the development community together.


As a lead youth organization in the ACP- EU partnership, ACP YPN had a precious spot at the Youth Lounge in the European Village along with One Young World, Young Mediterranean Voices, Alliance of Youth Empowerment, EDD Young Leaders and Faces2Hearts.

The Youth Lounge aimed at providing a meeting place for young people to network and connect between themselves but also to engage with EDD participants and organizations. High profile visitors came to the Youth Lounge such as Queen Matilde of Belgium, Queen Letizia of Spain, Commissioner Neven Mimica of the Directorate-General for international cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), Jayathma Wickramanayake UN Envoy on Youth,  Artist and Business leader Youssou N’dour and and Dr Denis Mukwege, Congolese gynaecologist and world leading expert on internal physical damage  caused by gang-rape.

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ACP YPN participated and organized several activities during the two-day event at the Youth Lounge including engaging with EDD participants on youth issues and launching a survey on ACP Women in Trade :

1. On Tuesday the 5th, Aïssatou Touré, ACP YPN Public Policy Advisor presented the role, missions, and activities of ACP YPN in line with article 26 of the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement and Sustainable Development Goal 16.7 ensuring decision-making at all levels during the « Pitch Your Organization » activity organized by One Young World.

2. With One Young World, ACP YPN co-organized a Networking Drinks Event to meet worldwide fellow young leaders to learn more about other youth-led organizations and activities.

3. On Wednesday the 6th, ACP YPN organized the « Dance for Emporwerment » workshop starring Sarah Amaro from Kizomba Love, that aimed at bringing together EDD participants in full contact with their role as actors of their destiny through dance. They were able to engage through movement on the topics of the vital role of women and the need for their full and equal participation and leadership in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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The ACP YPN delegation for the 2018 EDD edition included:

  1. Yentyl Williams, Founder and Director of ACP YPN
  2. Aïssatou Touré, ACP YPN Public Policy Advisor
  3. Adelaide Hirwe, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  4. Kelly- Ann Fonderson, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  5. Akosua Osei-Loué (HRH), ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  6. André Gbedan, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  7. Ariane Takyi, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  8. Cwanche Bleneau Cedric Bieleu, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  9. Fatiau Teikausi, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  10. Gilberto Morishaw  , ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  11. Marianne Nguenna, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  12. Pearce Robinson, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  13. Sarah Gane, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador
  14. Stefan Haenen, ACP YPN Youth Ambassador


By Aïssatou Touré – Get in touch with Aïssatou on LinkedIn Twitter.

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ACP YPN & Cooperatives Europe on Trade & Youth at EDD2018

On 6th June, the second day of the European Development Days 2018 (#EDD2018), ACP YPN partnered with Cooperatives Europe for their Brainstorming session on ‘Youth as key actors of change.’ The Session convened to discuss (1) Why youth matter & why to engage them in social and political decision making? and (2) The role of Youth and Trade. Yentyl Williams, Director, ACP YPN led the Roundtable and assistance was given by Kelly-Ann Fonderson, Expert, ACP YPN.

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The first ten minutes were dedicated to discussing the challenges, opportunities and actions to take on the first issue – (1) engaging youth in social and political decision-making. While numerous challenges were outlined, the two key opportunities that were highlighted: (i) The opportunity to create spaces e.g. trainings and (ii) the opportunity to foster structural transformation with youth playing a key role.

The second part of the discussion focused on (2) the role of youth and trade and the team discussed the issue over half an hour by focusing on 5 key points from which 5 main take-away points were drawn:

 (i) Various indicators of societal well-being should be used in a complimentary way to have a holistic overview of society.

For example, combining GDP with Taiwan’s definition of GNP as Green, Nature and People, as well as Bhutan’s Happiness Index.

(ii) Creating new inclusive spaces for young people to play an active role in decision-making is more relevant than creating new spaces.

For example, the emphasis should be places on inter-generational dialogue and this would avoid operating in silos – which is an inherent risk when new institutions are created, as opposed to new spaces in existing institutions – and foster more synergies in the process of youth mainstreaming.

(iii) No consensus was reached on Youth-friendly laws in our group.

There was justified concern that youth-friendly laws in relation to trade could merely replicate structural imbalances with youth who have the most economic power benefiting from such laws.

(iv) Knowledge exchange should be prioritised over knowledge transfer to foster inclusive and holistic policy and decision making on the premise that ‘shared knowledge is shared powered’, in line with SDG16.7 on fostering inclusive and responsive decision-making.

(v) Development aid should end and we should work on phasing it out and moving towards new inclusive models of exchange.

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The results of all four tables – facilitated by Sergi Corbalan, Fairtrade Advocacy Europe, Anis Saada, Indonesian Youth Cooperatives, Khouloud Mannai,  Trade Union Tunisia – shall be compiled in a forthcoming report. You can have a look at all the photos of the Brainstorming session here. #EDD2018 #SheEDDs #SheisWe #ACPYouthTalk

Do you have questions? Contact Yentyl Williams & Kelly-Ann Fonderson.

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ACP YPN lead on Trade at EYE2018, European Parliament

On the 2nd of June, the second day of the European Youth Event (EYE), ACP YPN lead its workshop on “Trade Agreements: Is your Deal my Deal?” at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The objective of ACP YPN was to strengthen the capacity of EU and ACP youth to contribute to the ACP-EU partnership. In particular, the ACP YPN Delegation to EYE2018 had two specific aims: to (i) engage with EU and ACP youth on the topic of trade and post-Cotonou relations; and to (ii) share opportunities for youth to boost their skills and ability to contribute to policy-making, while strengthening ACP YPN’s international database of youth experts. See the background note here.

The format of the workshop was the world cafe model, whereby participants discussed the thematic issues in 6 groups of 5 people facilitated by Experts in the ACP YPN team. Participants had an hour and a half to draw up 3 recommendations on 6 themes based on the thematic areas of European Commission’s recommendation to the Council on ACP-EU trade and  Post Cotonou relations:

  • Title I: Human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy , rule of law and good governance
  • Title II: Inclusive sustainable economic development
  • Title III: Environment and climate change
  • Title IV: Peace, security and justice
  • Title V: Migration and mobility
  • Title VI: Human development and dignity

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Finally, this Document of Recommendations outlines the main points discussed by the youth participants during the workshop. #EYE2018 #ACPYouthTalk

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ACP YPN at European Youth Forum COMEM

On 27-28 April, ACP YPN was invited as a guest organisation to attend the European Youth Forum’s Council of Members (COMEM) in Brussels. Arnaud Szanto, ACP YPN Expert represented the Network to more than 100 youth organisations (National Youth Councils and International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations) and engaged with them on the following topics: future of youth rights, social and economic inclusion, democratic participation and sustainable development in the European Union.


Photo: Arnaud Szanto (ACP YPN), Luis Alvarado Martinez (EYF) and Christopher Fürst (JCI)

Luis Alvarado Martinez (President, EYF) delivered a speech on the “State of Youth in Europe” in which he presented the progress made in the struggle for social justice through the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). He also discussed populism as a threat to the next EU election, youth unemployment and migration among other pressing issues. He emphasized the prominence for youth organisations to support the “Erasmus+ x10” campaign which advocates for an increase of the programme’s budget by 10 for the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) post-2020. ACP YPN is fully supporting this “Erasmus+ x10” campaign as we believe having an ambitious Erasmus + programme goes hand in hand with bringing together youth groups coming from various backgrounds. In this way, we reaffirm our commitment to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all as part of the Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Arnaud participated in a workshop organised by ATD Fourth World Movement“Do you want to know about stories of change?” and raised 5 key recommendations on the subject of inequalities in accessing quality education:

1. Promote a holistic approach to address systemic issues that marginalised groups are facing in getting access to quality education.
2. Enhance non-educational programs aiming at empowering young people to help them create new narratives that go beyond the structural problems they are facing.
3. Strengthen ongoing advocacy efforts for more inclusive and comprehensive education policies at the national and international level
4. Support education systems and curricula to foster self-awareness and tolerance while promoting equality of opportunities, which values diversity (ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and religious) and cultural heritages in order to combat social ostracisation.
5. Bridge communication gaps between groups to prevent marginalized youth – especially those in a situation of ‘learned helplessness’ – from not having access to quality education in order to unlock young people’s future opportunities.

Arnaud has also met with Anna Widegren (Secretary General, EYF) to talk about the challenges facing small organisations such as access to funding and the underrepresentation of youth coming from the diaspora in relevant debate at the EU level. He expressed that he was truly inspired by the stories of young leaders advocating for policy change and stated :

“I am feeling optimistic about the future of our Youth. I’ve had the chance to talk with leaders that are fighting ruthlessly to make sure no one is left behind. As long as we keep working together, I have not an ounce of doubt in my mind, that we can make Europe’s future, brighter for young people regardless of their race, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability.”


Photo: COMEM group picture for Erasmus+ x10 Campaign, 2018

Contact & follow Arnaud Szanto by LinkedIn

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ACP YPN at YABS Network Conference 2018

On 21 April, Aïssatou Touré, ACP YPN Public Policy Advisor took part as a keynote speaker in “Hunger for Success Conference 2018” organised by the YABS Network as its 3rd Annual Conference.

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It is under this year’s theme “Challenging the notion of Success in the African Community- What is Success? What is Failure?” that the YABS Network reunited several speakers including H.E. Mrs. Novisi Abaidoo, Ambassador of Ghana in Belgium; Annelies Decat from Unia; Krystel Sil Sikana, founder & CEO of HiSHi;  Cynthia Mukendy, social entrepreneur; Nadia Aime, Digital Mompreneur.

Aïssatou began by welcoming the initiative of such event aiming at connecting and empowering the African Diaspora Youth and congratulated the previous speakers for encouraging the audience to act for what they believe in despite all the obstacles.

She explained how a youth-led platform such as ACP YPN –  aiming at playing an active role in policy-making processes and ensuring that all young professionals can become active and capable world-changing citizens – helped her become more successful in achieving her professional and personal projects. Indeed, she exemplified how ACP YPN trusted her expertise and gave her two great opportunities :

  1. She was involved in high – level political dialogue including the Africa – EU Civil Society Forum that took place in July 2017 in Tunis. She noted that youth organisations were under-represented – only 5 out of 80 civil society representatives were youth delegates – although the main theme of the Forum was on ‘youth’ . For Aïssatou, this experience emphasized the great need to include youth perspectives in policy dialogue.
  2. In October 2017, she was one of 36 youth chosen across the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) to represent youth in the first ever AU-EU Youth PlugIn Initiave.  Over 5 weeks, they were tasked with developing a framework for youth policy on 6 different topics, which led to the publication of the Youth Agenda that was delivered to the Heads of States at the 5th African Union- European Union Summit.

These wonderful experiences allowed her to develop new skills such as policy writing, public speaking while confronting her to development cooperation’s main challenges. Most of all, such opportunities help create spaces for new ideas and projects which are essential to integrate African youth perspectives into the future development endeavours on the African continent.

Aïssatou concluded her speech with these words:

“Young people have so much potential, especially those from Africa and the diaspora. If opportunities are not there, let’s create our own and make our voices heard”.


By Aïssatou Touré – Get in touch with Aïssatou on LinkedIn Twitter.

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ACP YPN leads 1st Regional Youth Forum, ACP-EU JPA, Nairobi

On 10th April 2018, ACP YPN organised the 1st Regional Youth Forum of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) Regional Meeting in partnership with the Kenyan Young Parliamentarians Association (KYPA), the East African Legislative Assembly, the Commonwealth Youth Council, the COLEACP, the European Youth Forum, the Hoja Youth Summit at the United States International University (USIU), Nairobi on the sidelines of the 15th Regional Meeting of the JPA, 11-13 April 2018. The declaration is available in English & French.

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The Forum began with opening remarks from Dr. Fatuma Ahmed Ali, Director of Programs-International Relations, USIU-Africa; Yentyl Williams, Director & Founder, ACP YPN and the keynote speech from Senator Mercy Chebeni.

The first panel was on “The role of youth in economic transformation” and featured a keynote opening speech from Hon. Kennedy Musyoka, East African Legislative Assembly. The panellists included Nancie Amunga, Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs & CEO, Dana Communication; Lucy Mbaye, Youth SACCO & Kenyan Private Sector Alliance; Eddy Musoke Daniel, Coordinator, Hoja Youth Summit and Yentyl Williams, Director & Founder, ACP YPN. The event was moderated by Antony Buluma, Director, KYPA & George Stanley Njoroge, Coordinator, Commonwealth Students Association & Editorial Advisory Board, Parliamentarian Journal.

The second part of the Forum was a breakout session whereby the Youth divided themselves in six groups to discuss and draw up three recommendations on the Agenda of the 15th Regional Meeting, on six topics:

  1. Regional integration and cooperation
    • State of play of regional and inter-regional cooperation
    • Regional cooperation with regard to security and its consequences on migration
  2. Trade, investment promotion and private sector development
  3. Energy and infrastructure needs
  4. Tourism and wildlife management – progress, prospects and challenges
  5. Agriculture and food security
  6. ACP-EU relations Post-Cotonou

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The press release is available here & the photo album hereSee more via #ACPYouthTalk

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ACP YPN on CFTA at USIU, Kenya

On 5th April 2018, Yentyl Williams was invited to speak at the United States’ International University (USIU) – Kenya, Student’s conference on the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and its implication for African economies. The event, entitled, New Africa, the Kigali Declaration and Free Trade Area (FTA),  the Future of Africa was organised by the Hoja Youth Summit under the patronage of Dr. Fatuma Ahmed Ali, Director of Programs, International Relations, USIU.

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Yentyl shared the ground-breaking work of ACP YPN on getting young professionals a formal place at the Consultative Committee to monitor the EU’s new generation of Free Trade Agreements, in particular with the Caribbean. She used this as an example to underline that young people can monitor the implementation of trade agreements, and more over, their role can be formalised in this process.

Yentyl also underlined the importance of strong intra and inter-regional trade to overcome the dialectic of underdevelopment and development between the global South and the global North respectively, which Walter Rodney had underlined in his thesis, ‘How Europe under-developed Africa’.

In general, the students were interested and optimistic about the role of trade and the impact on their lives, locally, nationally and regionally.

Access Yentyl Williams’ trade publications here & the video intervention here. See more via #ACPYouthTalk

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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 (;  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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