Youth, Politics & Jamaica Ramblings

As you read through this blog, I want you to read with an open mind, think critically and put politics aside. I want you to think about the current and past programs implemented. Research if you have to and look at youth involvement in the formation of these policies and programs! Are the voices of our youth really being listened to and are they actively involved in the decision making process?

“Regional Consultation on Youth, Peace and Security: Voices of Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean” Panama City

On December 9, 2015, The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2250, a ground-breaking resolution on Youth, Peace, and Security, recognizing that “young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.”

Perhaps you may wonder; what exactly is the United Nations (UN)? Let me try to sum it up from a reliable source.

After World War 1 (WWI,) 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918, there was a need to form an international diplomatic organizational to solve disputes between countries before they erupted into open warfare. This led to the formation of the League of Nation, however, in my own analysis, the league was a complete failure, but that’s a debate for another time. After the Second World War, The United Nations (U.N.) a global diplomatic and political organization dedicated to international peace and stability was formed. The U.N. was officially established in 1945 following the horrific events of World War II when international leaders proposed creating a new global organization to maintain peace and avoid the abuses of war. I won’t go further but guess what you can read more?

Earlier I mentioned UNSC Resolution 2250, so let’s look at it in relation to Jamaica. Is our Government, and I mean both parties, Jamaica Labour Party and The People’s National Party really listening to the voices of our youth as outlined in Resolution 2250? Is youth actively involved in the decision making, and not just used as PR stunt and tokens when our leaders feel?

Firstly, our youth need to move away from the tokenism approach and demand that our voices are taken seriously because without dedicated young people working on peace and security, our decision and policymakers will not understand our needs. So youth, youth leaders and stakeholders its time to get serious, hold our leaders and our self-responsible for programs and our [youth-led] projects.

Secondly, a mandatory education curriculum specifically focused on peacebuilding, at the early, primary and secondary level need to be drafted and implemented.  This will introduce youth from an early age on how to be important agents of change in the peace-building process and instill the principles of good citizens. In recent times, there has been an upsurge in crime and violence, with the with our nation children at risk. Various programs and strategies have been implemented, often times sidestepping one of the most important stakeholders, our youth in the formation of youth programs.

Thirdly, the framework for youth participation has been set, as outlined in UNSCR 2250 so lets take our youth serious because in order to build and maintain peaceful communities, we must consider young people as partners for peace. It is very clear when youth have safe spaces to engage without fear of discrimination, they have a better chance to contribute to peace, national security & social cohesion in Jamaica.

The critics will argue that there are programs in place to support youth development, and some do work miracles, but let’s ask ourselves, how effective are the others? Are they focused on creating and fostering a long-term culture of peace? Are they properly monitored and evaluated, nonpartisan and sustainable despite whichever party is in power?

Until as a nation we invest in long-term and sustainable initiatives for peacebuilding and put politics aside, we will continue to need “divine intervention!”

Neville Charlton