ACP YPN ECDPM publication: Renewing the EU-Africa Partnership vis-à-vis youth

ACP YPN’s President, Yentyl Williams, and ACP YPN Secretary General published the article “How to renew the EU-Africa Partnership through transcontinental youth networks” in the European Centre for Development Policy and Management’s Great Insights magazine (Nov/Dec. 2017). The publication is available here.

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The authors set the context: the African Union (AU) declared 2017 the ‘year of harnessing the demographic dividend through Investments in Youth’ and the European Union (EU) renewed its Youth Strategy; and this is timely given the focus of the AU-EU Heads of State Summit on ‘youth’ (November 2017). While they recognise that the Summit on ‘youth’ is a unique opportunity to place youth integration and inclusion in policy and decision-making processes, they do underline the challenges: 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.

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.

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.

In sum, they underline that strong partnership with youth organisations, including youth civil society and youth diaspora organisations, will be key for the revitalisation of the EU-Africa partnership. The article references several of ACP YPN’s landmark achievements to bring youth to the heart of the partnership, notably via the establishment of the Youth Forum at the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly; via ACP YPN’s role monitoring the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as members of the EU-Cariforum Consultative Committee; as advisors to the AU Youth Advisory Board & the Diaspora Youth Task Force; as well as it’s co-organisation of the 4th Africa-EU Youth Summit.

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ACP YPN-CYC-CTLD submit Trade Inquiry to UK House of Lords

On 16th November 2017, ACP YPN, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) and the Caribbean Trade and Law Development (CTLD) provided evidence for the Inquiry the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade Out of Poverty (APPG-TOP) in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on the Commonwealth’s potential to help developing countries trade out of poverty. The contribution is available here. All submissions can be accessed here.

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This  ACP YPN-CYC-CTLD contribution offers a unique insight by recognising youth as negligible actors in the process of trading out of poverty. It also recommends that the Commonwealth countries work in closer coordination and partnership with key allies, such as the ACP group of states.

The contributors urge Commonwealth countries to leverage the capacities of youth as actors in trade, investment and local development, while recognising that there are a number of difficulties engaging youth, young entrepreneurs and youth business leaders. These include a lack of disaggregated data (age, non-GDP indicators), targeted financing, and linked to the broader issue of leveraging synergies between the full array of non-state actors for structured and effective interaction between labour, capital and social constructs of Commonwealth societies.

There are a number of recommendations in this contribution, including the need to: (i) foster entrepreneurship at the level of school education, which promotes citizenship values and building of soft skills, as well as innovation and creativity via incubators; (ii) promote the enabling regulatory and legislative environment for local MSMEs participation in sustainable industrialization processes through targeted funding, in an effective cycle of inclusion in consultation and monitoring; (iii) unlock the potential that lies in targeted investment in research activities, especially on harnessing the combined forces of the ACP group and the Commonwealth states to positively impact the evolution of the international trading system, its rules and regulations.

The Youth in the Commonwealth countries are the life blood of Commonwealth nations, yet, inter alia, there needs to be mutual recognition of diplomas and the creation of platforms to harness the youth contribution to trade, investment and local development in order to trade out of poverty.

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ACP YPN Social Networking: Shada Islam, Director, 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 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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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.

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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.

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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

Find out more via the ACP Secretariat

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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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