ACP YPN Expert at Montego Bay Meetings with Mayor and Councillor

On Friday 28th September 2018, Asia La Chapelle Williams (SDG 11&13 Expert) held a meeting with the Mayor of Montego Bay, Homer Davis and Councillor Richard Vernon to discuss the redevelopment of the market district in the city centre. The meeting was focused on how to create a safe and socially inclusive community space that integrates green infrastructure with community artwork and provides well designed spaces for small traders to sell local produce.

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Some of the main recommendations include:

  1. Encouraging secure by design principles as part of the creation of a new urban space;
  2.  Effective community engagement during two periods of market activity; during a busy operating period such as a festival, weekends or Christmas and compare this to normal market activity to measure potential uplift from improvements to the area and gauge what the community want from the project;
  3. Ensure sustainability is a fundamental element of the market redesign including socially inclusive ‘one community for all’ redesign, economically inclusive by facilitating a range of providers to operate in the area and sell local produce from Montego Bay, St. Elizabeth, St. James, Hanover and surrounding regions and environmentally sustainable by reducing flood risk, improving green infrastructure and open space and improving waste management.

In conclusion, to deliver a successful project from the initial concept and options analysis through to detailed design and construction, the main themes identified were sustainability and community engagement. These strategies will further be defined and the community will be brought on board through consultation to support the creation of an economically thriving market district that provides a place to be proud of.

By Asia Williams – Get in touch via Linkedin:

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ACP YPN recommendation in the EYE Report 2018

On 27th September 2018, the European Youth Event’s (EYE) Report was published including a key recommendation from ACP YPN delegate Rhody-Ann Thorpe. The EYE report features 100 ideas discussed at the EYE, where ACP YPN led their second delegation and hosted an event on ‘Youth and Trade’ at the European Parliament (June 2018, see here). Rhody-Ann Thorpe’s recommendation called for: relaxed visa policies for ACP member states, especially in the Caribbean space – something she says can also foster a more « EUnified » ACP.

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Rhody-Ann Thorpe (center) at the European Youth Event held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in June 2018. [Photo credit: ACP YPN]

Rhody-Ann put forward the recommendation that relaxed visa policies would encourage greater mobility for nationals of ACP countries and would ultimately grant them access to educational and professional opportunities in countries of the EU. More specifically regarding the Caribbean, relaxed visa policies would foster a greater sense of cohesion in the region as it would demolish the barriers that visa restrictions have erected between CARICOM countries and the European overseas departments and territories. It ultimately will provide an avenue for further exchanges, including the establishment of new airline routes between Europe and the Caribbean and which facilitate intra-regional travel. Were visa policies relaxed for ACP countries, it would also influence secondary and higher education policies to put an even greater emphasis on foreign language acquisition, an asset which is indispensable for the personal and professional development of today’s youth.

Rhody underlined that in the present ACP-EU ‘Cotonou’ Partnership Agreement, ACP and EU member states jointly declare their commitment to strengthening and deepening their dialogue and cooperation with regards to legal migration including admission, mobility and movement of skills and services. However, while EU nationals can travel to all ACP countries without a visa, only five (5) Caribbean states are presently privy to short stay visa-waiver agreements with the EU. This therefore not only hinders inter EU-ACP mobility but also regional integration in the Caribbean where French and Dutch overseas departments and territories share a common space.

In conclusion, given the forthcoming post-Cotonou negotiations, the post-Cotonou provisions on migration and visa regulations must be equitable in order to reflect a partnership between equally sovereign statesother pic

Rhody-Ann Thorpe Representing ACP YPN 

Background on mobility & the ACP-EU Partnership:

The ACP group and EU enjoy a partnership founded upon three pillars: development cooperation, political cooperation, and economic and trade cooperation. The 20-year partnership came into effect in 2000 and has since been revised to include provisions on climate change, regional integration among other challenges. As this agreement comes to term in the very near future and in light of the negotiations to be had on a Post-Cotonou framework, it is imperative to return to the certain aspects of the current agreement which need to be address, such as the lack of reciprocity with regards to visa regulations.

By Rhody Ann Thorpe – Get in touch with Rhody-Ann via LinkedIn

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ACP YPN at the AU Youth Exchange Ideation Dialogue Forum, Gaborone

On 2-4th September 2018, Fon Brunstead, ACP YPN Expert, was selected as one of 55 young African leaders amongst thousands of applicants to attend the  African Union‘s (AU) Youth Exchange Ideation Dialogue Forum, an African – German (GIZ) Youth Initiative in Gaborone, Botswana. The Forum was based on a consultative and participatory framework whereby youth participants debated, reflected on solutions to build an action plan to address the challenges affecting youth exchanges and volunteerism on the African continent. The topics of the discussion panels were in line with Agenda 2063 – Africa’s strategic document for socio-economic transformation which upholds a vision for increased youth mobility, partnership and engagement. ACP-YPN activities are directly connected to these themes, thus its representation at the forum was essential.

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During a stakeholder mapping activity, the role of government and the importance to increase private sector partnerships was recognised as being effective for designing sustainable exchange programs. Within this session, Fon stimulated discussions by insisting on the importance of institutions in designing inclusive policies and creating a tolerant environment to nurture the culture of civic engagement. He referenced on Article 26 of the Cotonou Agreement and Articles 10 & 11 of the African Youth Charter to commend for increased youth inclusiveness in designing cooperation agreements and national policies; a cause which is central to the ACP YPN’s objectives. Notwithstanding the role of national institutions, strong emphasis were also laid on the relevance of strengthening partnerships between youth-led organisations and the private sector (companies, small and medium enterprises, trade unions and multinationals). Six key solution areas were developed by the youth participants:

  1. – Building partnerships to develop exchange programs and enhance potential outreach and impact;
  2. Including “People Differently Abled” (PDA’s) within exchange program networks
  3. Providing accessibility and increasing the participation of rural youths into exchange programs;
  4. Maximising program impact through host organisations’ pre and post deployment support for volunteers;
  5. Improving host organisations’ follow-up capacity of volunteers through effective Monitoring, evaluation and feedback systems;
  6. Enhancing young women’s access to comprehensive healthcare services during youth exchange programs. In addition, Fon stressed on the necessity to educate more men about women’s rights and on the advantages of information technology and digitalisation in sharing opportunities and information.

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In conclusion, the Forum demonstrated the importance of taking into consideration the aspirations of Africa’s youth and the collective efforts of every single stakeholder in the process of building an integrated and prosperous continent. It also marked a milestone in youth policy by putting youths at the forefront of decision making and increasing the possibilities for young people in both formal and informal sectors to have equal access to capacity building opportunities. However, the forum also revealed the need for increased partnerships and for the improvement of monitoring, evaluation and learning systems within exchange programs. In this regard, the ACP-YPN strengthens its commitment to increasing youth partnerships through the continuous fostering of youth exchanges and dialogues.

By Fon Brunstead – Get in touch with Fon on LinkedIn.

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