Violence and violent crimes are pervasive in many of the Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean sub-region and entail an increased economic and social burden. In the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, UNESCO fosters a culture of non-violence, resilience and peace, through mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In this light, UNESCO advocates for a multi-stakeholder approach involving policymakers, researchers, youth and other actors.
The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development positions youth as critical agents of change and full-fledged partners in the United Nations’ work to build a better world for all, as indicated in the UN Youth Strategy Youth 2030. UNESCO’s global comparative advantage on meaningfully engaging with youth is its capacity to leverage the multidisciplinary expertise of its different thematic units, beyond specific projects. With around 63 per cent of the population in the region being below the age of 30, youth are recognized as a key priority for Caribbean SIDS as indicated in UNESCO’s Special Initiative for the Caribbean. Young people are rights-holders and actors with their own value that need to be recognized and included.
UNESCO puts at the disposal of Caribbean partners policy advice and technical support to strengthen the application of Meaningful Youth engagement (MYE) principles. This entails conceiving youth as partners and agents of change and integrating their expertise, experiences and lived realities throughout policy design, the program cycle and institutional decision-making. UNESCO as UN agency with a dedicated youth development section, is the partner of choice for delivering technical support on MYE in the Caribbean. In this light, UNESCO trains, engages and consults with policy-makers and public officials throughout the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, for example in collaboration with entities such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. Likewise, UNESCO continuously develops the capacity of youth, youth structures and youth-led organizations and structures on selected topics including MYE, project planning, disability inclusion or gender-mainstreaming.
The ability to translate knowledge into actionable strategies has become a powerful tool to support policymaking, build partnerships and should lie at the heart of the advocacy efforts for SIDS. UNESCO supports the achievement of a more inclusive, just and ethical world, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the mission of leaving no one behind. In this regard, UNESCO acts as global leader in fighting inequalities and building inclusive and sustainable economies and societies. UNESCO as UN lead agency on Social Sciences is committed to mobilize whole-of-society and human rights based social scientific knowledge for evidence-based decisions in SIDS. UNESCO is equipped with the necessary convening power to connect researchers with policy-makers to derive viable policy options.