About 160 million young people between ages 15 and 29 live in Latin America and the Caribbean, representing a fourth of the region’s inhabitants. The integration of this sector into development processes is crucial for advancing towards more egalitarian societies, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) stated in the book Youth: Realities and Challenges for Development with Equality (Spanish only), launched in the context of an international seminar that is being held through today in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Although education and employment are the two main avenues for achieving the social insertion of young people, policies are also needed on matters of health, violence, political participation and access to technology and culture, the United Nations organization indicates in the document presented during the International Seminar on Social Inclusion and Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean, which is part of a project supported by the Central American Social Integration Secretariat and the Ibero-American Youth Organization.
According to ECLAC’s data, four out of every 10 young people from 20 to 24 years of age have not finished secondary school and their unemployment rates are two to three times greater than those of the adult population.
In addition, about 30 million youth in the region, or close to 22% of the total, neither study nor have paid work. The majority of them, especially in the case of women, devote themselves to domestic and care-related tasks. Another group is unemployed or is looking for work for the first time, and a small percentage has some kind of disability.
The book gives an overview of the situation of young people in the region and makes policy recommendations using a rights-based focus, keeping in mind the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The document seeks to contribute to strengthening policies on youth in the region.
Also in El Salvador officials unveiled the guide Towards Juvenile Social Inclusion: Tools for Analyzing and Designing Policies (Spanish only), which addresses aspects such as institutional development, the gaps in social inclusion, urban violence in Central America, and young people’s perception of the priorities of the development agenda, among other topics.
In the guide, the creation of ECLAC’s Youth Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean (JUVELAC) is highlighted. It contains updated information on the various dimensions of the social inclusion of young people, which includes a database of policies and programs classified by thematic areas and countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.