We cannot speak of attaining the SDGs without a focus on our youth, says Minister Brantley

(SKNIS): Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley, made a clarion call for greater attention to be given to young people, noting that “we cannot speak of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” without placing focus on the youth population, as they too play an integral role in global development.

The foreign minister was at the time addressing the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 23, under the theme “Focusing on People: Striving for peace and a Decent Life for all.”

“Mr. President, our world comprises all kinds of people, but I wish to highlight the youth, that sector of all our populations on whom the global community must increase its focus,” he said, while commending the United Nations for playing its part in ensuring that focus is placed on young people. “Indeed, it was over two decades ago, that the UN General Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond. Youth constitute 18 percent of the global population. Youth and children together account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s population. The youth, Mr. President, are not just our future. They are our present. Globally, governments must do all they can to provide institutions and opportunities for learning and development; create employment as well as to prepare and to steer the youth towards entrepreneurial endeavours.”

He noted that the business community, as well as Non-Governmental Organizations among others must be able to “provide our youth with viable options and opportunities for gainful employment and social-economic advancement” as governments cannot do it alone.

St. Kitts and Nevis has played and continues to play its part in ensuring that youth are productively engaged and suitably positioned to accept their roles in national development. One initiative pursued is the drafting of the Federal Youth Policy, which is presently before the Cabinet for review. It was designed as an actionable device to address issues of economics, security and identity empowerment, education, health, nation building and excellence.

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