CAF calls for “moving from ideas to action” and promoting new projects for Ibero-American youth

May 29, 2024

The Corporate Vice President of Strategic Programming at CAF participated in a dialogue session about the political, environmental, and economic challenges for Ibero-American youth, organized at Casa de América in partnership with OIJ.

CAF - development bank of Latin America and the Caribbean - participated in the session titled 'Governance and Public Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities for the New Youth Agenda', held at Casa de América in collaboration with the International Youth Organization for Ibero-America (OIJ).

The session established a dialogue around the main issues and challenges for Ibero-American youth in the current context of disaffection towards political institutions, as well as the uncertainty created by the overlap of various social, economic, and environmental crises. In this regard, the different speakers presented their proposals to promote the inclusion of young people in youth policies, intergenerational solidarity, and the strengthening of democratic systems in the Ibero-American sphere.

The event began with a welcome from Luis Prados, director of Casa de América, who highlighted the major challenges affecting the Ibero-American region and its relations with Europe, particularly for youth, in the areas of digital, environmental, and social transition. He emphasized the role of Casa de América as a meeting and dialogue point.

Next, the dialogue started with an intervention by Max Trejo Cervantes, Secretary General of OIJ, who thanked CAF for its support in developing the New Youth Agenda (NAJ) and focused on the disaffection of young people towards governance and institutions. "Young people believe in politics but not in politicians", he argued, stressing the need to address this perception by using digital language, improving administrative efficiency, and promoting political consensus over polarization.

Margarita Guerrero Calderón, General Director of INJUVE, took over to discuss this "crisis of representation" that affects not only Latin America but also the rest of the world. "Horizons of certainty have been shattered without new solid horizons, marking a diffuse time where new common senses are being fought for", she explained, noting that young people continue to show involvement in social and political causes. "What is in crisis are the traditional channels of participation, as young people feel that politics does not respond to their demands", she asserted, advocating that young people should be "at the center of the political agenda" if we want to "expand and strengthen democracy".

Christian Asinelli, Corporate Vice President of Strategic Programming at CAF, inaugurated the first session of the dialogue by highlighting one of the most important recent developments in integration in Latin America and the Caribbean: the return of Chile to CAF. He explained that "CAF was the start of an integration experiment that has become one of the most important public goods in the region".

Asinelli also spoke about "moving from ideas to action" and highlighted the success story of a project in Buenos Aires (Argentina) aimed at people with housing access difficulties, which has now become an example of successful urban transformation. "With a teamwork approach to create an Ibero-American chair, we want to transfer this concrete experience and work on it theoretically to improve it and transform it into new shared projects for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, so it translates into public policies in other areas facing the same problems", he explained.

Regarding young people, Asinelli asserted that the current generations "have the responsibility to halt what has been done by previous generations" in terms of the environment and consumption, and to face major changes in the fields of digitalization, Artificial Intelligence, innovation, and governance, with the aim of not leaving subsequent generations a "practically uninhabitable" world.

The open dialogue session began with an intervention by Juan Antonio Báez, Vice President of the Spanish Youth Council, an organization that has conducted several studies on young people's disaffection with politics. "Eighty percent of young people under 30 feel that politicians do not listen to them, and 74% of those under 14 feel that political leaders do not take them into account when developing policies for their improvement". He advocated stopping the promotion of "intergenerational struggle" and working to regain young people's interest in politics and participation in decision-making.

Next, Juan Pablo Duhalde, General Director of the National Youth Institute of Chile (INJUV), took the floor, focusing on the frequent closure of youth institutions when government changes occur in Ibero-American countries, posing a problem for the successful completion of these initiatives. He also emphasized the need to strengthen youth inclusion systems at the Ibero-American level and highlighted the work that INJUV is doing in Chile alongside municipalities and local communities.

Following this, Irune Aguirrezabal Quijera, Director of the Ibero-American Program on Human Rights, Democracy, and Equality at the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), spoke, thanking for the congratulations on the recent awarding of the Princess of Asturias Prize to OEI. She left a lasting phrase with the attendees: "There are no policies for young people without young people".

The day concluded with final reflections and closing remarks by Lorena Larios Rodríguez, Secretary for Ibero-American Cooperation, who, among other things, underscored CAF's commitment to promoting leadership in development, entrepreneurship, cooperation, integration, and strengthening relations between governments, institutions, international organizations, and young segments. "Christian Asinelli highlighted that CAF has become a regional public good. Our Ibero-American cooperation space is also one", she emphasized while highlighting Asinelli's call to "move to action." Additionally, Nathalie Gerbasi, Director of Institutional Development and Training at CAF, noted that "CAF seeks to facilitate various spaces where young people can acquire tools to strengthen their leadership skills to form a critical mass of development agents that positively impact the region in the medium term".