ACP YPN at the European Parliament Culture & Education Committee

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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Want to know more, write to us at: acpypncomm@gmail.com

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ACP YPN at High-level conf. on a renewed partnership with Africa

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

Want to know more about ACP YPN mission and goals?

Want to know more, write to us at: acpypncomm@gmail.com

Keep up-to-date with ACP YPN via the Website | Facebook | Twitter | Flickr|Youtube

ACP YPN at the European Parliament High-level conference towards the renewal of 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?

Want to know more, write to us at: acpypncomm@gmail.com

Keep up-to-date with ACP YPN via the Website | Facebook | Twitter | Flickr|Youtube

 

ACP YPN Social Meet-Up with Shada Islam, Director Europe and Geopolitics, Friends of Europe

On Tuesday 7 November, we had the pleasure of having Shada Islam, Director Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe during our monthly ACP YPN Social Meet-Up. Mrs. Shada Islam is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian issues at the European Policy Centre. She is closely involved with initiatives to promote Asia-Europe exchanges including within the context of ASEM (Asia Europe Meetings). As a journalist, Shada also worked extensively on development questions including relations between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states as well as on world trade, including the Doha Round. Shada continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications. Shada led the discussion on Friends of Europe Development Policy Forum.

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Amongst the issues discussed at the meet-up was the AU-EU Africa Summit this coming  November in which topics such as Migration, Governance, Climate Change and Youth and Gender will be top on the agenda. It was emphasised that the AU and EU should increase their cooperation in combatting corruption and promoting good governance in Africa as these are essential in the economic development of African countries. Ms Shada commended ACP YPN for their involvement in development discussions at the international level, such as at the 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit, noting the importance of engaging the youth in policy-making for creation of inclusive societies.

ACP YPN has contributed to three declarations in the framework of the EU-Africa partnership. You can have a look at them here:
Africa-EU CSO Forum Declaration
S&D Africa Week Youth Declaration
Africa-Europe Youth Summit Declaration

Want to know more; you can follow Shada Islam on twitter

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ACP YPN at Friends of Europe’s on the “Making the digital revolution work better, faster for development”

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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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.

Want to know more about ACP YPN’s mission and goals?

Keep up-to-date with ACP YPN via  Website | Facebook | Twitter | FlickrYoutube

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ACP YPN Expert Addressing Climate Change and Life Below Water at the World Conference of Youth

This paper serves as an overview of the 10 minutes presentation Angelique Pouponneau ACP YPN SDG14 expert delivered at the World Conference of Youth in Belize in November 2017 where Ms. Pouponneau spoke in the session on eradicating poverty in a changing world.

We are indeed living in a changing world, and more accurately in a time of adaptation where we are faced with some of the most pressing challenges of our time which include both climate change and the health of the ocean. In brief, with warming temperatures, there has been evident impacts in changes in climate and weather patterns. In this region alone, we have seen an increase in the frequency and strength of tropical cyclones and hurricanes. The warming temperatures have also meant melting of the Arctic ice caps that had led to rise in sea levels posing an existential threat to island nations such as Maldives and Tuvalu. But we have Paris which signalled hope for an agreement that would seek to save the planet through the contributions of each member State to reduce and cut its carbon emissions. Similarly, the health of the ocean, SDG 14 life below water, is continuously threatened by illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, marine pollution and climate change itself. The latest UN report that shocked the international community was that by 2050 there will be plastic than fish in the sea. Nevertheless, there is a re-energised focus on oceans and the development of the Blue Economy which could lead to healthier oceans.

Most people who are passionate about the environment engage in climate activism through advocacy, educational workshops and cost-effective climate action such as tree-planting. But what about using enterprise to address the challenges of climate change and threats to the ocean. This paper offers three options:

Option one: ‘Greening’ Traditional Business

There are many businesses that currently exist that have a big carbon footprint (and here, I do not refer to the coal, oil or natural gas industries). Let’s take the number of office spaces or hotels as countries move away from primary industry to secondary and tertiary industries, how can their carbon footprints be reduced? There are a few ideas such as ensuring that there are water dispensers in the workplace to stop the use of plastic bottles (which take decades to degrade and some do not at all), the use of recycled paper, placing solar panels or creating gardens on the roofs of these buildings or simply turning lights off after working hours.

For hotels, there could be many ways to ‘green’ their business by not using straws, encouraging guests to be environmentally conscious when it comes to the use of lights or the washing of their towels. Additionally, encouraging their guests not to use products that have microbeads or the sunscreen which is detrimental to the marine creatures. Or, perhaps, providing a space where their guests can plant trees to offset their carbon footprint.

Option 2: New Business Ideas

The US Labour Department recently released a report with the following statistic: 65% of students today will be doing jobs that do not yet exist. Today we have an opportunity to begin new businesses that did not previously exist to address climate change and the ocean. I’d like to point to a few business ideas that emerged and are helping to address climate change and oceans.

  1. Repurpose School Bags – This is a school bag that is made out of recycled plastic materials that has a solar panel integrated into the school bag. The bags are left outside during the day and provides light for the children to complete their homework at night. This is particularly useful to address plastic waste, encourage the use of renewable energy and ensure that children and young people who live in countries where electrification remains a challenge have access to an education. (hyperlink: http://www.rethakafoundation.org/)
  2. Tree Adoption Uganda – This is a social enterprise that engages with businesses about their carbon footprint and offers to plant trees to offset their carbon footprint. The business pays this enterprise to undertake this task which has created employment for a number of young people in Uganda.
  3. Recently, plastic bags and cutlery and Styrofoam boxes have been banned in a number of countries including Seychelles and Kenya which offers a new industry to create new types of bags and boxes that are biodegradable. Entrepreneurs can also start importing such products into their countries whilst encouraging the development of a local industry.
  4. EcoFuture in Nigeria is a social enterprise that uses today’s technology such as geomap and SMS based platforms to collect recyclable waste and transport them to our recovery facility where they are recycled. From there they can be manufactured into a new item and sold in Nigeria or exported. This has dealt with the waste problem and provided employment to low income and middle/class communities. Waste is a huge concern as if materials are not recycled they end up in the landfill that emits methane which is more harmful than carbon dioxide and if it is not collected and disposed of it ends up in drains and rivers and soon reaches the ocean.

Option 3: The cheeky way

Then, there is the cheeky way! If you are more of an advocate and campaigner then that is your starting point to make your business happen. Start a campaign to ban plastic bags, get the ban then start a business that reintroduces local alternatives such as offering classes to make your own reusable bags, importing reusable bags to supply shops and hotels.

Despite all these great ideas, there is always a need for the right enabling environment to exist, so here are a few examples of schemes in place that would encourage such enterprises.

  1. Low interest rates loans for enterprises that address climate change and oceans.
  2. General ease of doing business framework within a country, for example, the creation of a one-stop shop where you can get all the information you need to start your business.
  3. Setting up of Incubation programmes that would provide seed funding and mentorship to grow a business.

So as we seek to eradicate poverty in a world where youth unemployment is high and entrepreneurship seemingly the solution to the problem, do not engage in business for profit sake but engage in a business that is solvent and solves a world problem.

By Angelique Pouponneau, ACP YPN SDG14 Expert

Biography:

Angelique Pouponneau, 27-year-old environmental lawyer from the Seychelles. She holds the position of vice-chairperson for inclusion and engagement of the Commonwealth Youth Council. Angelique is passionate about sustainability. In 2014, she co-founded a youth-led non-governmental organisation, SYAH-Seychelles, which provides a platform for young people to advance and promote sustainability through youth-led projects. To date the biggest achievements has been the successful campaign for the ban of plastic bags in the Seychelles and the implementation of the Blue Economy Internship Programme. For her work, she was recognised as a Queen’s Young Leader in 2016.

Contact & Follow Angelique Pouponneau via twitter & Linkedln

Want to know more about ACP YPN mission and goals?

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ACP YPN Expert on the role of young people as Climate Accountability Advocates

Paris was described as ‘historical’ because the world finally agreed to what some describe as a ‘legally-binding’ document on climate change and a highlight was having the United States of America as a signatory. The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) has kicked off with key issues to be addressed which includes the creation of a legal framework for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). NDCs are a feature of Paris which was pivotal to having an agreement that was agreeable by most parties. It provided States the ability to decide what commitments they were to make as a State. The Paris Agreement includes reporting obligations but without further information to ensure clarity, understanding of the contribution and transparency and on accounting methodologies. The World Conference on Youth is taking place in Belize where over 200 young people have gathered to discuss the role of young people in delivering the 2030 agenda. Simultaneously, across the Atlantic in Bonn, COP23 addresses the role of non-State actors to implement the Paris Agreement. This article makes a case for the role of young people as Climate Accountability Advocates.

To begin with, a simplistic explanation of the NDCs. NDCs is a new feature of the Paris Agreement which is a stark difference from the Kyoto Protocol whereby countries were categorised based on their level of development and mandated to undertake certain obligations and to cut their carbon emissions. However, Paris gives countries the ability to decide what their contributions will be with the understanding that it will become more ambitious with the passage of time. In the same year, countries signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) committing to climate action in SDG13 and other aspects of sustainability such as SDG 14, 15, 12, and 7. Each SDG had goals, targets and indicators of success. With these two parallel frameworks working side by side to ensure that there is no further destruction of the planet, young people can play a crucial role to ensure that Member States are on track to achieving their set targets.

With the proper training, a pool of young people could be deemed the Climate Accountability Advocates of their country where they would collect data, monitor the implementation and evaluate whether governments were in fact, reaching the self-set targets. This type of citizen engagement provides a crucial and engaging role in the 2030 agenda and the data can be used for a variety of purposes which may include:

  1. The data generated can be used as an advocacy and accountability tool for calls to action.
  2. The data can serve as ‘shadow’ reporting or contributions to the reporting obligation of the Member States.
  3. The data generated can be used to raise awareness about climate change and the gaps that are not being fulfilled which may encourage private sector or civil society organisations to contribute to.

With a consultative process, whereby governments, non-governmental organisations, private sector and youth agree on the indicators that should be monitored, a simple training workshop on how to collect data and monitor the success of the agreed indicators is all that is needed to make such an impactful initiative a reality. There are already existing tools that can be used to implement such a mechanism. They include the youth-led accountability tools created by Restless Development (hyperlink: http://restlessdevelopment.org/youth-led-accountability) and a social network that allows data capture to be filtered into useful graphs and charts known as Verdentum. (hyperlink: https://verdentum.org/index.php)

So, as you contemplate your role in ensuring the delivery of the 2030 agenda, think how young people can get organised to ensure our governments live up to their commitments.

By Angelique Pouponneau ACP YPN SDG14 Expert

Biography:

Angelique Pouponneau, 27-year-old environmental lawyer from the Seychelles. She holds the position of vice-chairperson for inclusion and engagement of the Commonwealth Youth Council. Angelique is passionate about sustainability. In 2014, she co-founded a youth-led non-governmental organisation, SYAH-Seychelles, which provides a platform for young people to advance and promote sustainability through youth-led projects. To date the biggest achievements has been the successful campaign for the ban of plastic bags in the Seychelles and the implementation of the Blue Economy Internship Programme. For her work, she was recognised as a Queen’s Young Leader in 2016.

Contact & Follow Angelique Pouponneau via twitter & Linkedln

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ACP YPN Expert on Diversity & Inclusion in the Construction Sector

As a keen advocate for Diversity & Inclusion across industry, Asia Williams ACP YPN SDG11 Expert took the initiative to explore Race in the Workplace with her colleagues and external guests at a recent event. As a minority ethnic woman in the Built Environment sector, she is aware of the lack of presence of both women and BAME groups in her industry. There is also a need to address issues around the lack of disability, religion, age and LGBTQ presence in this industry and across business in general. Her industry is also facing a skills shortage with 400,000 people needed every year to deliver housing and infrastructure needs. The UK Government’s recent Race Disparity Audit and McGregor-Smith report spurred her to find out more about the often little talked about and ‘taboo’ Race issue and try to work collectively to fashion the solutions.

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Next year, in the UK, gender pay reporting will become mandatory for firms, and this is likely to be followed by ethnicity pay reporting. Recent voluntary audits such as those done by PwC highlight lower pay and bonuses for colleagues of the same career grades from BAME backgrounds. We know that regulation will have to follow. Not only this, but recent research conducted by McKinsey demonstrated that ethnically diverse companies outperform their competitors by 35% and the McGregor-Smith report highlighted that embracing D&I could unlock £24 billion for the UK economy. This is not just a moral argument but clear economics; there is a business case around the much needed push for diversity.

Data in the Construction Industry shows that we are lagging behind. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) currently only have 1.4% of their surveyors from BAME backgrounds and only 23% are women. This is in the face of a ‘demographic timebomb’ where 25% of surveyors are predicted to retire in the next 10 years. Businesses must address the need to be more reflective of the societies we operate in now more than ever. In the UK 14% of the population are BAME and in London, this stands at 40%. We are missing a whole pool of untapped talent. Further research identifies a quarter of all graduate engineers are from BAME backgrounds and 23% of the UK university population are BAME. Yet they are still experiencing barriers in the workplace, whether it be access to entry level opportunities, being passed up for promotion or being overqualified for the positions they are in. The attrition rates for BAME groups across businesses are higher because of this and the pace of increases in recruitment cannot tackle the issue if progression is not addressed.

In her workplace, they have strong values around sustainability and improving the quality of life and this is why they have taken the opportunity to confront the statistics, start the discussion and begin to plan steps to address these burning issues. Not only is it beneficial for their business, but for their people, the communities they work within and the clients they serve. Asia is “ very proud to push this agenda into the mainstream conversation around D&I and excited to work collaboratively with my colleagues to develop the next steps and see where it takes us”.

by Asia Williams ACP YPN SDG11 Expert

See ACP YPN’s activities on Diversity & Inclusion:  Linklater’s event and our joint letter in response to the Commission strategy on the issue and our advocacy at the EP on this.

 

See also, Politico EU on Diversity & Inclusion in the EU, with input from the EP Anti-Racism, Diversity & Inclusion inter-group.

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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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