Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Dr. Didacus Jules yesterday called for the deliberate inclusion of young people in all aspects of development.
The call was made during an address to the sub-region’s youths on the occasion of International Youth Day (IYD) 2022, which is celebrated 12 August. This year’s theme was ‘Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages.’
Jules revealed that the OECS is seeking to lead by example, with the youth being a key priority in the work of the Organisation.
”The new strategic direction of the OECS is premised on the inclusion of youth as a cross cutting theme, as we aspire toward the inclusion of youth voices in all major decision making. This requires a collaborative and intergenerational effort, where we provide support for the vision of youth, allowing them to unleash their unlimited imagination and liberate their yet untapped potential,” Jules said.
“We cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can build them for the future,” said Jules, echoing the words of former US President Franklin D Roosevelt.
Speaking directly to young people in the OECS, Jules said: “As we celebrate and reflect on this International Youth Day, it is important that you recognize that the world in which we live is uncertain. It is faced with a confluence of factors which affect your development, ranging from climate change, COVID-19, the digital revolution, wars, and other periods of global instability. However, it also presents opportunities which you must seize if you are to shape your destiny and the world that you inherit. If the world is to look like what you as young people want it to be, then you must take control of your destiny. You are poised to redefine our world, not only because of your numerical significance, but because of your unmatched talent, skills, and vision for development. For this reason, you should be deliberately included in decision making, not as mere inheritors but as equal partners of development.”
“I would be doing a disservice to you however, if I did not urge you to analyze the theme and recognize that it is challenging you, young people, to see the development of youth not as a destination or a sprint, but as a relay race or a marathon. Viewed through this lens, we will then be able to simultaneously look back, look at our current circumstances and look forward,” Jules said.
“Recognizing that, many of our populations in the OECS are ageing rapidly, it is your responsibility as young people to ensure that the world that we are creating seeks to design policies and programmes which adopt a lifelong approach which seeks to actively engage all ages. Diversity of views makes us all wise. It is our responsibility from this time on therefore, to raise awareness and eliminate the barriers to intergenerational solidarity in our OECS. Let us be known as the corner of Earth in which young people are at the epicentre of our developmental trajectory, and that by harnessing the skills, talents and visions of all our people in a whole-of-society approach we can ensure a sustainable future for us all,” Jules said.