ONE OF the greatest challenges facing small-island developing states is the lack of employment opportunities for young people.
According to United Nations Under-Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan, the world currently faces its highest rate of youth unemployment ever.
Grynspan told a news conference at United Nations House in Barbados last week Tuesday that the global youth unemployment statistics were "sad" and "a deep worry".
"If you look at the numbers, not only here in Barbados and in the Caribbean, if you look at the numbers, there is the highest rate of unemployment of youth that we have had ever in the world right now. This is sad; a deep worry because it will affect the development prospects of the countries," she said.
She said estimates are that approximately 10 per cent to 40 per cent of Caribbean youths were unemployed. Those figures were also expected to change and potentially increase, given the current impact of the global economic crisis.
Grynspan, a former vice-president of Costa Rica, said in Latin America, "25 per cent of young people are out of school and out of work".
She said in response to those figures, the United Nations Development Programme, Barbados office developed its "Youth-IN Project with outputs that tackle high levels of Caribbean youth unemployment". The programme promotes entrepreneurship and enterprise among the region's youth through the Caribbean Innovation Challenge, a second edition to be launched by November this year.