Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has launched a new toolkit, designed to help governments boost green and blue growth through youth entrepreneurship.
The policy toolkit is the first of its kind, developed by the Commonwealth in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It provides practical policy advice to help governments respond to the multiple opportunities and challenges facing young people, the economy, and the environment.
Speaking at the launch in Geneva, Secretary-General Scotland said: “Young people can play an instrumental role in creating the change required to ignite innovations which lead to sustainable development outcomes. We believe that youth entrepreneurship can contribute to the social, economic and environmental innovation required to drive sustainable development at national and global levels.”
The aim is to create an environment within which young people can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by developing ‘green’ products such as renewable energy or climate mitigation tools. They could also generate sustainable ocean-based solutions in sectors such as fisheries and tourism.
“The challenges of green and blue economic growth go beyond a business-as-usual approach to economic and entrepreneurship development, and require a shift in the conventional economic and social frameworks used to guide development,” continued the Secretary-General.
This includes the transformation of ‘brown’ markets toward green and blue economic growth; the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation; and support for youth entrepreneurship in new, disruptive and transformational markets.
In this regard, the toolkit aims to guide policymakers in formulating robust national strategies for youth entrepreneurship, optimising the regulatory environment, and improving business skills. It also includes ways to support technology and innovation, improve access to finance and promote awareness and networking.
“Young people must be brought into the policy-making process as legitimate and significant stakeholders,” said Secretary-General Scotland.
She thanked UNCTAD for its continuous support. "I speak for both of our organisations when I say that we will continue to empower our youth, as they remain our hope about the boundless possibilities of tomorrow," she concluded.
The toolkit contributes to the 2018 Commonwealth leaders’ mandate on youth employment that stresses the importance of creating meaningful employment opportunities for the Commonwealth’s growing youth population.