ACP YPN at the 1st ACP Non-State Actors Forum  (Part II)

On 30th and 31st October, the ACP Secretariat held the 1st ACP Non-State Actors Forum to discuss their role in the ACP agenda. The Forum discussed the three thematic areas as defined as ACP priorities in the document ‘The ACP We Want‘;

  1. Trade, Investment, Industrialisation & Service.
  2. Development cooperation, technology, science and innovation and research.
  3. Political dialogue and advocacy

ACP YPN was invited as a youth led civil society organization and participated on the panels. ACP YPN delegation included Yentyl Williams (President & Founder),  Bora Kamwanya (Parliamentary relations Officer) and June Paskalina Lacour (Project Coordinator). Bora Kamwanya and June Lacour made two interventions, while Yentyl Williams was in the drafting committee of the Forum along other Non State Actors from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific.

June Lacour presented on the topic ‘the role of NSAs and implementation’. June presented an analysis at the present state of ACP – EU relationship and its fulfilment of article 26, where she acknowledged that their recent involvement of the youth was well appreciated but more initiatives were welcome. Indeed, ACP YPN’s invitation to the Forum was a sign of commitment and support from the secretariat. June hoped and expressed the ACP YPN’s willingness to be involved in the post 2020 negotiations as they were pertinent to the youth across the ACP regions.

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When discussing trade, investment industrialisation and services, the challenges to industry development and support agriculture sector in the global value chain of some of the issues that were addressed. Moreover, NSAs contributed to the discussion putting emphasis on maximisation of intra ACP relations for competitive trading and insisting on taking advantage of trade in service since it is the fastest-growing commodity in the region. There was open agreement on the need to facilitate the correlation of good practices from the different regions so that the NSAs could have an easy access to readily available data and apply them to their own countries.

Thirdly, under political dialogue and advocacy the Forum addressed the role of NSAs in the implementation of development issues in ACP states. This topic had four components that were adequately discussed. First, was the role of NSAs in the implementation of the 2030 agenda on sustainable development. June highlighted that as ACP YPN we have a role in monitoring and outreach to youth in ACP regions, to make sure that the agenda is inclusive of our contribution and reflects the future we want. Additionally, the discussion on non-state actors’ participation in negotiation and implementation of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) was discussed and ACP YPN expressed willingness to be involved in future negotiations as this agreements had a greater impact on youth entrepreneurship, access to markets and job creation. On development corporation technology science and innovation, ACP YPN’s position was that there was a need to educate the youth on intellectual property rights, how to develop them and mobilise their expertise in order to curb brain drain in ACP countries. In particular, June underlined that research capacity cannot be enhanced without people and that’s the ACP needed to invest in its people

The two-day forum ended with a proposed resolution that mainly called for the creation of an independent NSA desk within the ACP secretariat that would follow up on the agreed points and be a point of contact for all NSA organisations from the ACP region. Lastly, there was a call for continuous involvement of NSA in ACP affairs and especially in post 2020 discussions as opposed to the last interaction of ACP Secretariat & NSAs 9 years ago.

By June Lacour, ACP YPN Project Coordinator

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ACP YPN at 1st ACP Non-State Actors Forum (Part I)

 

On Monday November 30th, ACP YPN participated in the 1st ACP Non-State Actors (NSA) Forum. ACP YPN was represented by ACP YPN delegates: Yentyl Williams (President & Founder),  Bora Kamwanya (Parliamentary relations Officer) and June Paskalina Lacour (Project Coordinator).  Bora Kamwanya and June Lacour made two interventions, while Yentyl Williams was in the drafting committee of the Forum along other Non State Actors from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific.

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In Bora’s intervention in the Opening session on the theme of ‘Post-Cotonou’, Bora shared three important points with fellow Non State Actors. He spoke of what needs to be the innovation in Post-Cotonou regarding Youth issues. Then he addressed the Youth Conference and its importance in connecting ACP youth before finishing by talking about the importance of ACP YPN regional offices.

Firstly, Bora explained that innovation is needed in what will be the Post-Cotonou Agreement so that what it contains vis à vis the youth is pertinent and implemented not only at the ACP-EU level but also at the ACP member states level. He followed up explaining that in the future ACP-EU cooperation, there must not only be one article on ‘youth issues, but there must also be implementation provisions; and on the future of the ACP group, he explained that youth must be more formally integrated in the structure. Bora gave examples of how Youth can be integrated and how they will benefit from it. Firstly, Bora suggested that we increase internal cooperation, foster youth mobility in ACP countries, and foster Youth-mainstreaming by recognizing youth as an interest group. Secondly he added that we should give more opportunities for young people to be integrated in different societal structures, through, for example, Internships that will foster exchange with their Members of Parliaments, which also promotes awareness raising for youth on political processes. Last but not least, Bora recommended more inter-generational dialogues to really grasp the need of the youth and address them better, together.

Secondly, Bora spoke of the importance of youth-led and youth-owned initiative such as the Youth Conferences organised by ACP YPN, and invites youth from the Caribbean to attend the next one in Haiti. In Bora’s words “Give the youth the tools; they are ready and eager to work.” Bora explained how ACP YPN has enhanced triangular and South-South cooperation and at the same time has created collaboration between ACP Diaspora in Europe and ACP States through our online steering group organised before each Youth Conference.

Last but not least, Bora explained the importance of having ACP YPN regional offices. He said that it would enable youth to address the challenges they are facing in all part of the ACP group of states. He explained that in practice, it will enable local youth to bring their concerns to the ACP group of states so that the group shall also support the establishment of a coherent and comprehensive policy for realising the potential of youth so that they are better integrated into society to achieve their full potential, as stated in the preamble of Article 26 of the Cotonou Agreement.

Bora ended his address by saying that he would like to see enhanced cooperation between ACP Non State Actors so that our group of States is well equipped to address the challenges of its people, in Bora’s words “May the ACP serve us all, may we all serve the ACP.” Bora concluded by saying “Nothing about us without us.”

Did you miss it? Watch the video below:

By Bora Kamwanya

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ACP YPN on the Digital Revolution at the Development Policy Forum

On Tuesday November 7th, during Development Policy Forum’s (DPF) Policy Insight, led by Friends of Europe, Dana Schurmans, ACP YPN Digital Inclusion Expert, discussed together with Jüri Seilenthal, Director-General for Foreign Economic Policy and Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, and G Subramanian, Principal Innovation Evangelist at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), how the digital revolution is impacting international development. The panel was moderated by Shada Islam, Director Europe & Geopolitics. The panellist addressed how digitisation could become an even more powerful force for change and growth in the coming years, and how access to new technologies and the Internet is empowering the world’s poor and disadvantaged people, creating ‘digital dividends’ for developing countries.

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Dana stated that critically understanding how we, as society and individuals, can and should use digital tools to enhance a more inclusive society for all, regardless of age, gender or ethnic origins, has been a central question in her academic and associative life.  As researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain and member of ACP YPN she is aware that digital skills have become a key to job markets and for education round the world, yet new risk of digital inequalities amidst younger generations can be noticed:  young people from disadvantaged backgrounds have a higher risk than their peers of being digitally excluded. Literature shows that differences in digital access, attitude, skills, self-assessment of skills, use, diversification use and social support deepens the gap between digital in and digital out.

Her key message was that while ICT4D policies offer new perspectives for development aid, including for young generations, policy makers should acknowledge the new challenges related to digital exclusion. In order to enable youth from developing countries to seize digital opportunities, she suggested that, policy makers should continually invest in digital infrastructure, education and meaningful digital environments or services. Undeniably, development through digital can only be achieved if we recognize its dual pace. Capitalizing on social and digital resources is therefore mandatory.

By Dana E. Schurmans

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