The world’s youth population is at an all-time high, at 1.8 billion people aged 15 to 29, yet the potential for ‘Generation Hope’ to contribute to a happy, healthy and prosperous future for all could be dashed by widespread joblessness, unequal access to health and education, and lack of political influence.
This is the conclusion of a major new index and reports launched on Friday 21st October 2016.
St Vincent and the Grenadines have been ranked number 22 among Commonwealth Countries on the 2016 Youth Development Index.
While the nation was ranked number 22 among Commonwealth countries its global rank stood at 91.
The Global Youth Development Index measures progress on youth development in 183 countries, including 49 of the 52 Commonwealth countries.
It covers five domains, measuring young people’s levels of education, health and well-being, employment and opportunity, as well as civic participation and political participation.
But while St Vincent ranked high among Commonwealth countries, the island had to settle for the number 7 position among 8 of the sub-regional Commonwealth countries.
The top-performing Caribbean countries are Barbados (28), Jamaica (46), The Bahamas (67), Antigua and Barbuda (72) and Grenada (73).
Commonwealth nations within the sub-region who ranked high on the index are Barbados with a ranking of 6, Jamaica, which ranked 12, Antigua number 17, Grenada with a ranking of 18, followed by St Lucia with a score of 20, Trinidad & Tobago with 21, St Vincent 22, and Guyana at 28.
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland, who launched the index at a ceremony at the Australian High Commission in London on 21 October, said it provides a “call to action” for governments to empower and engage young people, adding that without the active support of youth leaders it may be impossible to deliver the sustainable development goals by their target date of 2030.
“The index throws down a challenge to policy-makers everywhere: without action to promote young people’s empowerment, boosting opportunities for employment and opening up spaces for political dialogue, countries will be squandering their most precious resource and storing up problems for the future,” Secretary-General Baroness Scotland said.
The information also highlights socio-economic issues faced by young people across the world and the secretary-general reinforced the call to realize the potential impact that the youth have on global affairs.
The YDI is guided by the Commonwealth definition of youth as people between the ages of 15 and 29, while recognizing that some countries and international institutions define youth differently.
By Ernesto Cooke