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Social inclusion of youth in the context of increasing violence and insecurity with a focus on Central America

1 September 2013 to 31 December 2015|Project/Programme

Executive Summary

Within the region, social exclusion has led to social fragmentation and polarization, widening inequalities in communities, and creating strains on individuals, families, and communities. Moreover, social exclusion has contributed to a context of increasing violence, associated partly with crime. Violence is a widespread problem in Latin American and Caribbean countries, and has an increased priority for Central American governments. Among many negative consequences and high economic costs that violence produces in these countries, it particularly affects young people having a complex and highly inter-dependent youth-violence link. Among many other factors, effective youth policies and programmes focused on social inclusion can facilitate the creation of an enabling environment to address this phenomenon. To this effect, the project aims at strengthening the capacity of Latin American and Caribbean countries, particularly those of Central America, to promote effective social inclusion of youth in the context of violence and insecurity. In order to provide policy-makers from selected countries with necessary skills and knowledge, the Project focuses on capacity building in the processing and analysis of data on youth issues, and strengthening the national capacities to design and promote corresponding evidence-based policies and programmes. Moreover, youth violence is a complex and multidimensional issue, and hence there is no single solution to address it. In this context, it is critical that decision-makers learn about policies that proved to be successful in different countries and settings. Thus, the Project also aims at facilitating knowledge sharing among countries and policy makers using modern tools such as databases and online platforms to disseminate the experiences. The project builds on the experience of ECLAC in a number of areas relevant to youth and social exclusion of youth, in which over the years ECLAC has provided extensive technical assistance and has established long-standing relationships with the National Youth Institutes that represent one of the main stakeholders of the project.

Outputs

The Project has allowed generating a regional panorama of the complexity of the relationship between youth social inclusion and violence, that has fed a regional youth observatory on policies and programmes, and that has allowed to elaborate a deep analysis of the institutional configuration on youth issues. The construction of a regional database focused on youth will constitute a huge contribution of the Project that will serve to several counterparts for conducting analysis on specific topics.

The regional panoramas have been constructed considering national experiences and comments that have been presented by the national counterparts through national seminars celebrated in Central America. These events have allowed a very rich exchange of experiences among the main stakeholders within the countries, not only governmental ones but also international cooperation agencies, nongovernmental organizations as well as academics.

The construction of a toolkit containing the main policy recommendations, as well as relevant considerations related to institutional configuration supporting an integral youth policy, is a crucial output of the project that is being delivered to the stakeholders through capacity building seminars during 2015. This process is expected to lead to the conformation of a network of policy makers and relevant stakeholders on social inclusion of youth that can be sustained beyond the conclusion of the project itself.

As a result, we do not only expect that the governments will have better capacities and access to useful information, but also that there will be an increased number of policy initiatives addressing youth inclusion in contexts of violence considering or applying the suggestions and recommendations defined by the Project.

Contact: Humberto Soto

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