The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, on Tuesday, 10 March 2020, hosted youth leaders to provide input for the development of the Results-focused Community Strategic Plan 2020.
The specially convened national consultation brought together youth leaders from the secondary level of the country’s education system; the University of the West Indies; Barbados’ CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, Chad Monerville and Tirshatha Jeffrey; and vulnerable communities, including the differently-abled.
The youths participated with energy and enthusiasm as they expressed their views on CARICOM affairs. The CARICOM Secretariat provided technical guidance and played a coordinating role in facilitating the consultation.
The youths were organised into focus groups to consider and propose issues that should be prioritised in the 2020 Community Strategic Plan. They recommended activities and actions that would assist in addressing the issues they highlighted, such as mainstreaming inclusiveness of all citizens including persons with disabilities, and other marginalised groups in public policy and strategy formulation and implementation, and representation of youth in governance at national and regional levels.
Other strategic issues discussed and highlighted by the young people included the development of harmonized data protection; a privacy and cybersecurity regional model policy; an integrated building code for the Community; improved communication and information sharing on the results of the required integration development agenda; annual publication and Community-wide dissemination of annual reports of the Regional Institutions; and greater democratization of information to enable timely and wide-scale sharing of Community policies, strategies, initiatives and outcomes to all citizens of the Community, utilising social media and other channels.
The interaction followed the national launch of Barbados ‘I AM CARICOM’ Campaign involving the nation’s youths on Wednesday 12 February 2020.
I AM CARICOM Campaign
The ‘I AM CARICOM’ Campaign was recognized as an important vehicle that will enable greater visibility and information sharing, increased understanding and participation in the CARICOM construct, governance, policies, strategies and plans of the Caribbean Community. The Campaign places citizens of the Community at the centre, and thus, has been personalized to not only reflect the lived experience of the people of the Region, but to increase understanding among Caribbean people that CARICOM is about all of us, our successes, challenges and progress.
The Campaign seeks to effectively and efficiently reach and engage all stakeholders, especially the general public, to create awareness and take ownership of the new Results-focused Community Strategic Plan for 2020, as well as to facilitate continuing dialogue between the Implementing partners and citizens of the Community where perspectives and information on the scope, issues, process, expected deliverables, and benefits and implications for citizens can be shared.
It is designed to utilise the channels of print media, television, radio, social media, popular entertainment artists and sports personalities and social media influencers to reach the primary target audiences of the general public throughout the Community. The Campaign also seeks to increase the involvement of citizens in the decision-making processes of the Community by, among other things, encouraging them to participate in the National Consultations now underway to inform the development of the Strategic Plan which identifies the priorities of the Community over the next implementing period. The Campaign will be implemented over the life of the New Community Strategic Plan as part of a sustained thrust to ensure that Community Stakeholders participate fully in efforts aimed at developing and implementing a results-oriented culture across the Caribbean Community.