ACP YPN at Cariforum-EU Consultative Committee, Trinidad & Tobago

On 6-7 November, Yentyl Williams, President & Founder of ACP YPN, participated as member of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee’s (CC) third meeting which was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. According to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Cariforum States and the European Union, the task of the CC is to assist the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council in promoting dialogue and cooperation between representatives of organisations of civil society (art. 232). The agreement also recognises the role of the CC in monitoring the implementation of all economic, social and environmental aspects of the EPA and in strengthening dialogue between representatives of civil society. ACP YPN is a new member of the CC and had previously contributed as observer since 2014. The final declaration is available here.

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Yentyl presented on the link between EPA implementation and youth employment, employers and entrepreneurship. She highlighted the unique role of ACP YPN as an innovator on this topic: 1) creating new institutions for youth to access policy and decision-makers to share their experiences and to advocate on issues relevant to them, notably via the creation of the ACP-EU JPA Youth Forum; and 2) creating spaces within existing institutions for youth to formally be involved in structured dialogue on issues which impact employment and entrepreneurship, notably becoming member in this forum after having participated previously as observer since 2014. Nevertheless, she highlighted the challenges of continued inclusion and sustainability of youth inclusion due to lack of targeted financing and lack of commitment within the current structure of policy-making to ensure youth mainstreaming.

The discussion that followed was very lively and there was unanimous agreement that more needs to be done to harness the power of youth inclusion. The issues discussed underlined the following issues: (i) targeted support for youth in business via development banks, capital venture and business angels, access to finance, through better use of disaggregated data; (ii) foster entrepreneurship at the level of school education which promotes citizenship values and building of soft skills, and innovation and creativity via incubators; (iii) allocate targeted financing for youth organisations, entrepreneurship hubs and incubators, as well as, and foster inter-generational dialogue in policy-making; (iv) create a EU-Cariforum Youth Platform to share youth opportunities, by harnessing business, venture capital, public and private sector opportunities, and create links with CSR, including through the establishment of a register of skilled professionals; (v) promote the mutual recognition of diplomas.

The two-day forum ended with a declaration and adoption of a work plan that will guide the committee over their two-year mandate. Additional key topics included trade in services, micro-finance, climate change and research and development. ACP YPN continues to work on these issues and they have featured in previous ACP YPN declarations including the St. Julian’s Declaration & Nairobi declaration, Africa-EU CSO Forum Declaration, the S&D Africa Week Youth Declaration, and the Africa-Europe Youth Summit Declaration.

For more information, contact ACP YPN representative at the CF-EU CC, Yentyl Williams via LinkedIn.

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