News Releases

International Youth Day Message 2018

For Release Upon Receipt - August 20, 2018


The following statement on International Youth Day 2018 was issued by The UWI Youth Development Programme

The largest youth population in the history of the Caribbean exists today.  However, this large group of youth is expected to decline substantially in the next 30 years.  This means that the Caribbean has this singular opportunity to contribute to its positive transformation through investment in and prioritisation of its youth.  Failure to capitalise on this opportunity could fundamentally compromise the future of the Caribbean.  The very real and pressing challenges of rising rates of youth unemployment, teenage pregnancy, intergenerational transmission of HIV/ AIDS, crime, and their gendered dimensions, demands a strategic response. 

To achieve the positive transformation while our youth population is at its largest, a financing and coordinating entity is required at the regional and national level for maximum impact.  Transforming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into implementable programmes in the region necessitates a multifaceted approach to development, one that is rights-based and capacity-oriented. Key areas of Education, Health, Governance, Economic Participation, Research and Policy, and Environmental Resilience must be the focus of this new era of development. This cannot be achieved without significant investment and large scale coordination at the regional level.

The University of the West Indies Youth Development Programme (UWI – YDP) has for the last year, together with partners, been designing the Caribbean Youth Development Fund (CYDF).  This Fund was envisioned to respond to the challenges impacting youth, and unlocks the potential for progress and growth.   The CYDF will accomplish this through a Technical Assistance Programme and a Grants Facility, two mechanisms which would be available to all in the regional youth development space. 

This is undoubtedly an ambitious project.  It is made all the more ambitious by the 2030 deadline for the SDGs and the decreasing impact of youth investment in the Caribbean over the next 30 years.  Our decision to support our youth is one to support our future as a Caribbean, a future that is everyone’s business.