Eleven countries, one commitment:
10 Jul 2015 by Pablo Gago,Specialist, Youth and Civic Engagement, UNDP Regional Centre in Panama
In Latin America and the Caribbean, there is approximately a 50 percent deficit in the share of public spending on youth in relation to other age groups, considering their demographic weight and the concept of evenly distributed spending.
This is not consistent with the fact that one in four people in the region is between 15 and 29 years old. More than 160 million young men and women are struggling to end the inequality between different generations in planning and public policy.
In order to boost investment in youth and their political participation and inclusion, last month we launched the Iber-American Programme, IberJóvenes, which will initially be implemented in 11 countries: Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal and Spain.
The IberJóvenes Programme, is a joint effort of the Ibero-American Youth Organization (OIJ), the Iber-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It was created with the aim of strengthening public policies for Ibero-American youth and stems directly from the 2014 Ibero-American Summit of heads of states, in response to the challenges facing youth of the region.
The programme aims to reach youth, organized or non-organized, and will particularly focus on: rural populations; lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people; young and indigenous women, and women of African descent; as well as officials who work with and for youth. It will create new opportunities for participation and dialogue, the training of managers and young community and elected leaders, support for mobility initiatives, social inclusion and innovation.
IberJóvenes also provides a platform for strategic partnerships to facilitate the convergence of agendas, actions and resources among the different actors. Among our important partners are the Spanish Cooperation Agency, the Development Bank of Latin America, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Autonomous University of Madrid, the Latin American Social Science Council, Microsoft, and the platform Juventud con Voz (Youth Voice), in addition to the official youth organizations in each of the countries of the IberJóvenes programme.
The main goals to achieve in the first three years of IberJóvenes (2015-2017) are:
- Consolidate the fundamental role of youth as subjects of rights and key actors in development, in participation and in the general wellbeing of the population, as well as in combating discrimination and promoting more democratic and inclusive societies.
- Increase youth advocacy through participation, creating opportunities for intergenerational dialogue, agendas and common demands to facilitate the involvement of youth and their representation in public policy.
- Conduct training activities that lead to an improvement in the quality of research, governance, capacity building, and an increased development of public policies for youth, focusing on traditionally marginalized groups and sectors.
- Support the implementation and consolidation of social initiatives led by youth, which would represent alternatives for change and social transformation.
- Promote youth mobility through actions and programmes for sharing experiences within the Latin American Community.
Why is the IberJóvenes Programme important? Because it responds to a clear desire for change in the region for all young people, by listening to the contributions of youth and including their demands and needs in the public agenda of Latin American countries. And it’s important because the inclusion and participation of youth strengthens social cohesion and renews democracy.
This is what youth in the region are demanding, be it through street protests, activism on social networks and/or innovative proposals for social change.