The United Nations define youths as persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years old without prejudice to other definitions by Member States. In the Pacific Islands region, the definition of youths vary between countries.
In the Solomon Islands, the newly launched National Youth Policy 2017-2030 (link to document) defined youths as ‘persons between 15 and 34 years of age.
Solomon Islands is a youthful nation. 70 percent of Solomon Islands’ population is below the age of 34 years. The country has a very rapid population growth rate, currently the highest among all Pacific Islands countries. It currently produces about 18,000 births per year about 50 births every day, which translates to an equivalent of 2 full classrooms every day.
The rapidly burgeoning youth population coupled with very limited opportunities in government, private and informal sectors call for innovative approaches to provide opportunities for social and economic empowerment to all young people as they leave the education system and join the employment and labour market.
Policy Issues and Constraints
Consistent with youths elsewhere in the world, youth in Solomon Islands aspire to be the best they can be. However their ability to achieve their dreams and aspirations are not entirely dependent on themselves. They are influenced by many factors, some of which are outside their scope of control and sphere of influence. These factors represent policy issues and constraints that need to be addressed to provide the enabling environment that will allow young people to cultivate their aspirations and help them realised their dreams.
- Key sectoral policy issues
- Lack of employment & entrepreneurship opportunities
- Education and training not equipping students with livelihood and work ready skills
- Lack of effective strategy to enhance health and wellbeing for young people.
- Lack of a strategy for sports, recreation and health for young people.
- Cross-cutting Policy Issues
- Lack of a strategy for sports, recreation and health for young people
- Gender equality and inclusiveness needs further strengthening
- Integrate cultural and spiritual values and virtues into all youth programmes
- Prioritise youths with disabilities
- Address Rural –Urban drift
- Poor access to relevant information on youth issues
- Lack of facilities for youths
- Embrace appropriate technology
- Implications of population growth
- Policy Implementation, Coordination and Performance Management Issues
- Poor Policy Coherence
- No common Framework linking all stakeholders working in the youth space
- No clear financing strategy for youth development
- Ineffective Implementation
- Ineffective governance and institutional arrangements
- Poor performance management Framework- for monitoring and evaluation.
Solomon Islands National Youth Policy 2017-2030
The new 3-tier Policy framework for youth development in Solomon Islands comprises of the i) National youth policy 2017-2030 (NYP) , ii) Strategic Framework for Youth Development in Solomon Islands (SFYDSII) and iii) National Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Strategy (NYEES).
The National Youth Policy 2017-2030 is the first of the documents from the 3 tier policy framework for youth development in Solomon Islands and sets out the direction that will guide the other two documents.
NYP 2017-2030 sets the overarching long term vision and mission for youth development and empowerment in Solomon Islands within the framework of the National Development Strategy (NDS) 2016-2035 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
The policy provides an enabling environment where youth development and empowerment can be mainstreamed into other key sector strategies for sustainable national development and nation building.
The NYP 2017-2030 has one overarching policy goal – Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Livelihoods- Leave no one behind. Six (6) priority policy outcomes (PPOs) underpin the achievement of this overarching goal during the 2017-2030 plan period.
NYP Six (6) Priority Policy Outcomes (PPO)
PPO 1: Educational Empowerment - by 2030, the scope and content of education curricula delivered at all levels of the education system including formal, technical & vocational and non-formal education will; (i) properly equip students who progress to higher levels of education; and (ii) ensure all students leaving the education system at any level are adequately equipped with ‘appropriate skills sets’ to make them ‘work-ready’ and help them engage effectively in the labour market.
PPO 2: Economic Empowerment – by 2030; at least 75% of youths who are not in educational institutions have secure career pathways through formal or informal employment opportunities, entrepreneurship and other innovative economic opportunities to improve their livelihoods and quality of life.
PP0 3: Health & Wellbeing – by 2030; (i) 100% of youths are aware of and are practicing health living and lifestyles; and (ii) actively engage in cultural, spiritual, sporting and other physical activities to improve their health and holistic wellbeing.
PPO 4: Sustainable Development – By 2030; youths are empowered and equipped to be effective catalysts and enablers of sustainable development – (i) enhancing opportunities for green and blue economies; (ii) strengthening resilience to natural disasters and climate change; (iii) ensuring food, water and energy security; (iv) promoting the use of appropriate and sustainable technological innovations and interventions to support sustainable development; and (v) implementing activities to achieve the SDGs relevant to Solomon Islands.
PPO 5: Leadership, Governance, Peace Building, Social Inclusion and Citizenship – by 2030; (i) youths are empowered as agents of positive change, participating in leadership, decision making and governance mechanisms including traditional leadership and governance at all levels including household, village, community, provincial and national levels; and (ii) contributing to long-term social harmony and cohesion, peace and security, gender equality, equal opportunity and national unity that leaves no one behind.
PPO 6: Evidence-based Approaches, Access to information and Provincial implementation strategies - By 2020, (i) decision-making on strategies, plans and programmes on youth development and empowerment will be evidence-based; (ii) youths will have greater access to information; and (iii) all provinces have developed and are implementing their respective provincial implementation strategies for youth development and empowerment, cognizant of established traditional leadership and ward governance arrangements in empowering youths within each province; (iv) the NYC will be rejuvenated and; (v) capacity of staff in the MWYCFA, Provinces and partner agencies are strengthened to effectively implement the NYP 2017 – 2030.