The 4th Islamic Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers was held in Baku, Azerbaijan during the period 17-19 April 2018, under the theme “Solidarity in Action for Youth Development”. The conference was organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Secretariat of the Conference, comprising of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF – on sports issues) and Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC – on youth issues) in coordination with the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The biennial Conference brought together Youth and Sports Ministers, policy makers and youth activists from 56 OIC countries to discuss and analyse the latest challenges and prospect of youth in the OIC countries.
The Conference provided a unique opportunity for experts, national authorities, and other key stakeholders to discuss the latest policy developments at the OIC level to tackle the issues young people are facing. Also allowed delegates to analyse the different drivers of unemployment, and identify priorities for future policy actions in order to help young people realize their potentials and thrive.
Young people make up the majority of OIC countries’ population and are one of its comparative advantages and greatest strengths. But as this youthful population continues to rise, come uncertainty over the readiness of OIC countries to tap into this resource for economic boom and harnesses the potentials and the opportunities of the demographic dividend. The situation in most of these countries shows that a majority of the youth population remains unemployed or underemployed making it a recipe for frustration and instability.
In the last few years, in OIC Member States, youth as a social category has finally evolved into an arena for public policy. This positive development could further benefit from a shift, where policymakers start seeing youth not merely as a source of anxiety but also as an untapped spruce of social and economic development. To help policy makers to realize this shift, SESRIC, jointly with ICYFDC, prepared the 1st Report on ‘the State of Youth in the OIC Member States’ (2017).
The report examines the challenges that face young people in OIC Member States comprehensively, from education to entrepreneurship, health, social and political inclusion, to globalization and cultural change. As part of its contribution to the 1st Report on Youth Status in OIC MSs, SESRIC has initiated an original effort and developed the first OIC youth indicator, Youth Policy Score Indicator for OIC Countries (YPSI), as a prototype.
The indicator aims to map Member State’s existing youth policy frameworks. This will help to gather data on national youth policies of OIC Member States, which is currently missing. It will also facilitate a more thorough intra-OIC cooperation for sharing best practices as well as identifying where more work needs to be done.