Dr. Jules revealed that the OECS is seeking to lead by example, with youth a key priority in the work of the Organisation. According to him,
''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.''
Dr. Jules’ full address is below.
Address by OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules in Commemoration of International Youth Day 2022.
“We cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can build them for the future.” – Franklin D Roosevelt. Quite an apt reflection as we celebrate International Youth Day 2022, under the theme Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages. 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.
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.
In doing so, we can appreciate the foundation built by sweat and blood of our ancestors. In so doing we can critique our present circumstance and capacity. In so doing we can manifest the consciousness expressed in the Native American dictum that “we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”.
While the social and economic circumstances of our existence may be different, intergenerational solidarity requires that we collaborate to ensure that this is a world in which we can all live peacefully with no one left behind.
Such a world is only possible if urgent action is taken across all generations to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals.
Such a region is only attainable if we in the OECS embrace our new strategic priorities that are perfectly aligned to the UN SDGs by:
o Accelerating regional integration
o Reinventing our economies
o Valuing the environment
o Building resilience
o And advancing equity and inclusion
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 of our people in a whole-of-society approach we can ensure a sustainable future for us all.
Happy International Youth Day!