The OECS Commission on Thursday, August 12th, joined the rest of the world for the celebration of International Youth Day, under the theme, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.” The theme is quite apt, as it addresses an often-overlooked area in the field of youth development. The United Nations acknowledges that “There is a need for inclusive support mechanisms that ensure youth continue to amplify efforts collectively and individually to restore the planet and protect life, while integrating biodiversity in the transformation of food systems.”
In observance of International Youth Day, OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules called for youth to have a more prominent role in decision making across all levels, especially as it concerns the issues that affect them most. Dr. Jules referenced key strides being made by the OECS Commission, including the development of an OECS Youth Strategy, launch of an OECS Youth Advisory Network, and launch of the U- Report OECS platform in helping to place OECS youth at the forefront of every agenda. As the focus shifts to youth in agriculture and food systems transformation, the OECS Commission has reaffirmed its commitment to this area, evidenced through the strategic pillar Yes I Move (Healthy Lifestyles and Sport), which is a critical component of the OECS Youth Empowerment Strategy.
Minister with responsibility for youth in Grenada and Honorary Chair of the OECS Youth Advisory Network Hon. Kate Lewis, has called for greater consideration for the role of youth in agriculture and food production. Hon. Lewis asserts that there must be greater effort in developing knowledge, skills and talent of youth and investing in food systems to provide successful examples and viable livelihoods for future generations. According to the Minister, it is imperative that we develop these capacities to engage in profitable and sustainable agriculture, which must be systematically addressed in education and training agendas.
Chairperson of the OECS Youth Advisory Network Mr. Kamalie Mannix added his voice to the observation of International Youth Day, as he called on young people to rise to the challenge of transforming the way that we produce food. In his remarks, Mr. Mannix advocates for greater use of technology in agriculture and has made a call to action for Caribbean youth to lead the charge in developing more innovative and sustainable solutions for food production.