2017 National Youth Policy


The National Youth Policy (1994) represented Jamaica’s first comprehensive policy on youth. This was developed from the Draft National Youth Policy (1985) and the 1992 paper, “Vision of Youth.” Among the priority areas identified by the 1994 Policy were the need for an institutional focal point to ensure effective coordination of and collaboration on youth related programmes and research and act as an information clearinghouse. Consequently the National Centre for Youth 

Development (NCYD) was established in 2000 to fulfill this mandate. The second major outcome of the 1994 Policy was the re-introduction of the National Youth Service (NYS), in 1995 with a programme that emphasizes development of leadership skills and enhancement of the social skills of youth. Other provisions of the 1994 Policy related to health, sports, education, and employment. In 2001, the findings of a review of the current situation among youth and a critique of the 1994 Policy by stakeholders pointed to the need for improvement in the Policy so as to better address the development of youth from a holistic perspective.

As a result a National Youth Policy Steering Committee with representatives from over thirty organizations was established in August 2001 and met monthly to guide the policy revision process. The process was informed by consultations with youth, youth-serving organizations and local and international development partners across Jamaica. This Policy, while targeting youth, recognizes the need to utilize the life-cycle approach to strengthen the development of Jamaica’s human capital. Cognizant of the need to provide an environment suitable for the positive development of children, this Policy supports provisions for the care, development and protection of children as outlined in the National Policy on Children (1997).

The formulation of the Youth Policy was a collaborative effort among the Government of Jamaica, through the National Centre for Youth Development, the USAID funded Futures Group International POLICY II Project, Aleph, S.A, UNICEF and the Commonwealth Youth Programme. This collaboration signalled a new dimension in youth development and provided the framework for other international development partners to bring their resources to bear in a coordinated way. The Policy is supported by a National Strategic Plan for Youth Development (NSPYD) which acts as the guide to its implementation over a five to ten years period.

This Policy provides a common framework for effectively developing our youth. It succeeds or fails on the strength of the nation’s commitment to the future.