Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports
BVI National Commission for UNESCO
House of Assembly
Release Date:
Wednesday, 6 March 2024 - 1:19pm

Statement By Honourable Sharie B. De Castro

Minister For Education, Youth Affairs & Sports

At-Large Representative

Ninth Sitting Of The First Session Of The Fifth

House Of Assembly Of The Virgin Islands

Tuesday, 5thmarch, 2024

    The Revision of the National Youth Policy


Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports has initiated the revision of the National Youth Policy. The Ministry is supported by UNESCO who has assigned a consultant to assist with the revision process. Madam Speaker, on the 26th and 27th February 2024, the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports hosted a two-day Meaningful Youth Engagement Workshop in partnership with UNESCO to initiate the revision. The workshop provided a platform for youth and youth practitioners to share their experiences, insights, and recommendations on effectively engaging young people in the policy-making processes.

Madam Speaker, the workshop also encouraged youth to take an active role in shaping policies that directly affect their lives and foster a sense of ownership and responsibility for implementing the Youth Policy. On day one, the workshop focused on unpacking the concept of Meaningful Youth Engagement and its principles, preconditions, forms, benefits, and barriers. Day two focused on co-designing the proposed roadmap of the youth policy review which entailed milestones, national priorities, and the development of a timeline for the Youth Policy review. The discussions also identified key stakeholders to be engaged in the process with their roles and responsibilities defined.

Madam Speaker, a decade has passed since the implementation of the National Youth Policy, and it is imperative that we reassess its effectiveness in meeting the evolving needs of our youth and our territory as a whole. In crafting a new youth policy, we must ensure that the voices of our young people are heard loud and clear. We must remember that the youth are not merely beneficiaries of our policies; they are active participants in shaping the future of our Virgin Islands. Their involvement is not only desirable but essential if we are to chart a course toward a prosperous and sustainable future. By engaging our youth in meaningful dialogue and decision making processes, we not only empower them to realise their full potential but also ensure the continued growth and development of our territory.

In conclusion Madam Speaker, the revision of the National Youth Policy is critical and we are committed to its effective implementation. Thus, the Ministry and Department, with the support of UNESCO, will work diligently to ensure the successful revision of the National Youth Policy. Thank you, Madam Speaker.