GUWAHATI, July 3 - The three-day BRICS Youth Summit that concluded in the city today resolved to�recognise the importance of volunteerism towards youth development as a means to contribute to social and economic development.
�Youths have expressed interest in addressing important issues related to education, crime, violence and governance. However, they are insufficiently and inadequately represented in formal governance institutions in some countries. This should be an area of focus for us,� heads of delegations of the BRICS nations, including Indian head Rajiv Gupta and his Chinese counterpart Dong Du, said at a press conference.
Stating that BRICS recognised the diversity and magnitude of the youth populations of the constituent countries, as well as their needs and aspirations, the leaders asserted that the summit was committed to making all efforts to develop the potential of young people and contribute to the overall development of the countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
�Over 720 million young people are in the age group of 10-24 years in the BRICS nations. Brazil, Russia and China are more advanced in their demographic transition than South Africa and India. Nevertheless, all the BRICS nations still have a relatively large number of people of working age who are critical to achieve the SDGs. Education, employment, entrepreneurship and skills training are critical for young people to be socially and economically empowered. Noting that many countries are supporting apprenticeships and providing incentives and opportunities for entrepreneurship, there is a further need to create an enabling environment for fostering innovation by young people,� they observed.
On skill development and entrepreneurship, the Summit called for creating and strengthening apprenticeship programmes in the existing BRICS institutions, besides documenting and disseminating success stories among the member nations. Providing training to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on business development services, business plans and website development were also recommended.
Terming social inclusion as a cross-cutting concern within the BRICS nations, the leaders suggested that initiatives must, therefore, prioritise marginalised and vulnerable young people to ensure access to education, healthcare, including reproductive health and social protection services.
Initiation of capacity building programmes for professionals, who work with young people in the BRICS nations as also creating a BRICS Social Science Youth Research Network, were among the recommendations.
In order to raise the value of youth volunteering, the Summit called for facilitating cross-learning to access opportunities for leadership development and accrediting and recognising youth volunteer programmes for acceptance across the BRICS countries.
�Establishing online platforms to highlight best practices, opportunities and recognising good work in order to promote exchanges on volunteerism among the BRICS nations through structured volunteering and civic service projects can also help realise our goals,� Gupta said.
On youth participation in governance � another key issue � the Summit observed that in order to create and systematise a roadmap for youth exchange programmes between the BRICS nations, there was a need to promote a model of BRICS Summer School in respective countries and offering opportunities for the youth to participate.
�Coordinate existing and creating new opportunities for youth participation in governance and decision making; facilitating the capacities and participation of youth in public policy, programme formulation and monitoring and evaluation hold the key,� Dong said.
The BRICS Summit also resolved to appeal to the New Development Bank to provide financial support for youth initiatives as proposed by the BRICS countries, besides designing and facilitating exchange programmes in the four thematic areas.
�We are also for establishing the BRICS Youth Secretariat initially in virtual form, consisting of one government official and one youth representative from each nation to ensure the realisation of youth initiatives agreed upon at the BRICS Youth Summits. Creating an online platform to share best practices and opportunities and reporting on the progress made at the next BRICS Youth Summit can also be the means for implementation of our agenda,� the leaders said.
The three-day deliberations saw ministers, officials and youths of the delegations from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa engaging with one another in sharing experiences of policies and programmes implemented in their respective countries. The deliberations centred around four thematic areas � Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Social Inclusion, Youth Volunteerism and Youth Participation in Governance.