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Regional Youth Funding in Latin America and the Caribbean



The European Union and Latin America have enjoyed a strategic partnership since the first bi-regional summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1999. They cooperate closely at international level and maintain an intensive political dialogue at all levels—regional, subregional (Central America, Andean Community, and Mercosur), and increasingly at the bilateral level.

The 2007–13 thematic program, Investing in People, covers health, education, gender, and other aspects of human and social development, including youth and children, employment and social cohesion, decent work, and culture. The European Commission also promotes student mobility and tertiary education cooperation between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

In programming, the European Commission acknowledges that complete involvement of civil society in the relations between the EU and Latin America is fundamental; from political dialogue through to the association agreements and the programming exercise for 2007–13, full participation allows transparency and dissemination of the proper information. To further this objective, meetings are regularly organized to improve civil society involvement in the EU-LA relations. An extensive list of documents on the dialogue with civil society is available at http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/la/civil_society_dialogue_en.htm.

In the youth field, specifically, there are some opportunities for promoting youth mobility and organizing youth activities between Europe and Latin American and the Caribbean through the Youth in Action program. Further information is available at http://ec.europa.eu/youth/youth-in-action-programme/doc74_en.htm.



The OIJ is an intergovernmental body that promotes dialogue and international cooperation in the field of youth among the Latin American countries, including Spain and Portugal (the former colonial powers). Its main achievements include the Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Young People, which is in the process of ratification by its member states, and a study on Latin American youth in 2007. Further details in Spanish and Portuguese are available on the website.



The IIN is a specialized structure of the Organization of American States (OAS). Established in 1927, IIN aims to contribute to the development of public policies that ensure the promotion and exercise of children’s rights within the framework of a strengthened democratic governance in the OAS member states. IIN accomplishes this aim by promoting cooperation with civil society and the creation of a culture based on children’s rights and well-being. IIN focuses thematically on sexual exploitation, juvenile law, promotion and protection of children’s rights, and international abduction of children. Across these areas, IIN engages in research and publications, maintains a library and specialized networks, and offers distance education courses. One of these courses focuses on children and youth participation.



The IDB, established in 1959 to support the process of economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean, is the main source of multilateral financing in the region. The IDB Group provides solutions to development challenges by partnering with governments, companies, and civil society organizations, and reaches its clients who range from central governments to city authorities and businesses. The IDB lends money and provides grants. In addition, it also offers research, advice, and technical assistance to support key areas such as education, poverty reduction, and agriculture. The bank is also active on cross-border issues including trade, infrastructure, and energy.

The Youth Development and Outreach Program of IDB Youth promotes the involvement of Latin American and Caribbean youth in the development process by providing young people with opportunities for leadership, community service, volunteerism, access to technology, and entrepreneurial development in the world of business and social action.

IDB Youth builds strategic alliances with governments, corporations, and NGOs to create a space where the role of youth in development can become more relevant.

The program works to:

  • equip young people to participate in their own personal development as well as in that of their communities;
  • advocate to make youth development and involvement an integral part of the development process;
  • incorporate youth development and involvement into IDB operations;
  • promote inter-organizational and inter-sectoral alliances to foster youth development and involvement.



RITLA is an international and intergovernmental organization designed to provide technical cooperation to Latin American countries who are members of the Latin American economic system. Its mission is to empower regional cooperation, consolidate mechanisms of collaboration and exchange linked to the use of new information and communication technologies, and discuss themes that are in its sphere of competence in the region and the world. Its official languages are Portuguese and Spanish. The executive headquarters is located in Brasilia, capital of the Federal Republic of Brazil.

Youth is one of the six priorities of RITLA, whose mission is to empower regional cooperation and exchange linked to the use of new information and communication technologies. Addressing the issues of the digital divide, information and communication technology, and innovation in education, as well as issues of participation, citizenship, and violence, RITLA is profiling itself as a key contributor to youth-related debates in the region. A number of youth-specific publications and resources are made available on its website.



The OAS is an international organization established in 1948 to achieve peace and justice among its member states, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence. Today it comprises the 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the principal political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the region. The OAS uses a four-pronged approach. Each of the organization’s four main pillars—democracy, human rights, security, and development—supports the other. These pillars are connected through a structure that includes political dialogue, inclusiveness, cooperation, legal and follow-up instruments, and provides the OAS with the tools to effectively carry out and maximize the work it does in the region.

The OAS recently developed a new focus on youth—an integral and cross-cutting approach—to involve, engage, respond to, and empower young citizens across the region. It aims to view inter-American issues through the lens of youth in order to better focus the OAS efforts to promote equality, integral development, hemispheric security, and democratic governance. Special attention is given to engaging young people at the community and local levels, which can provide an effective platform for their contribution to democratic governance. Three core areas guide the OAS youth work:

  • promoting democratic values and practices;
  • promoting economic, social, and cultural development with equity; and
  • engaging youth at risk.



RELAJUR is a youth network based in Uruguay targeting rural young people in the region. It collects information on and for rural young people and provides a platform for sharing and exchanging information and services across the region.



The YABT acts as a catalyst for young entrepreneur development in the Americas through business skills training, partnership, leadership, and technology. It is a young startup initiative and combines the energy of talented young people, as staff and representatives, with the experience and prestige of the OAS to support young people’s entrepreneurship.