Media Centre
Press Release

Region to host First Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth HealthHer Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes ORTT, President of Trinidad And Tobago will deliver the feature address

October 4, 2019

Friday 4 October 2019 (First Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health):  Young people[1]/have been identified as critical to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. The SDGs’ agenda and the Global Strategy for the health of Women, Children and Adolescent (GSWCAH, 2016 – 2030)[2]/ bring new commitments and mandates that directly affect the positioning of young people in the global and regional health and development agenda.

According to 2015 estimates, there are 10.8 million young people (10-24 years) in the Caribbean, representing 25% of the total population, and 7.2 million adolescents (10-19 years), representing 17% of the total population. The Region continues to recognise the disparities in the burden of poverty, underemployment and unemployment, secondary school enrolment and completion rates, as well as the financial and societal barriers young people face to access health information and quality health services that respond to their needs. Additionally, there are especially vulnerable youth who face additional levels of marginalisation, such as adolescents with disabilities, HIV positive youth, migrant and socially-displaced adolescents, and those who identify along the LGBTQI spectrum.

It is against this backdrop that the Region will host the first Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on 15 – 17 October 2019.  The theme of the Congress is  “Championing our wealth: promoting the health and well-being of adolescents and youth in the Caribbean.”

Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes ORTT, President of Trinidad and Tobago will be the feature speaker.  Ms Kim Simplis-Barrow, First Lady of Belize and Chair, Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN), Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago,
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General and Dr Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO Director are expected to deliver remarks during the opening ceremony on 14 October 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Port-of-Spain.

The congress which is organised by a consortium of regional partners, including youth leaders, is expected to increase awareness on issues that are negatively affecting the health and well-being of adolescent and youth in the Caribbean. It is anticipated that the Congress will help to mobilise greater investment for the promotion and protection of the health and well-being of all adolescents and young people in the Caribbean.

Approximately two hundred participants are expected to attend including youth from around the Caribbean, CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, youth from within key populations, youth development leaders,  public health leaders, social activists, and regional civil society representatives.

The congress is structured to ensure that the voices and concerns of youth in the region are heard through their active participation as organisers of special sessions, moderators, and panellists. The congress will also encompass building the capacity of youths to advocate for issues related to adolescent and youth health at the regional and country-level through increased knowledge and awareness of current best practices, new tools and skill sets applicable to the region.

The Congress is expected to result in regional commitment from participants on a vision and core principles to address the health needs of adolescents and youth ages 10 – 24 years in the Caribbean, as well as action plans based on current and emerging priorities for adolescent and youth health.

The event will serve as an impetus for policymakers to begin the discussion on how to improve and sustain investments in the health and well-being of adolescents and youth in the Caribbean.

– ENDS –

Timothy Austin
Communications Specialist
PANCAP Coordinating Unit
CARICOM Secretariat
Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409  | Visit

Helpful links:

Editor’s notes


A consortium of regional partners has collaborated to plan and support the Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health. These include the Caribbean Association for Adolescent Health, International Association for Adolescent Health, Caribbean Institute for Health Research, Caribbean Development Bank, Caribbean Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development’s Youth Campaign, PANCAP Youth Advocacy Network, Caribbean Regional Youth Council, NCD Child, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), CARICOM Youth Department, Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), Commonwealth Youth Council, Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN), Dance4Life Barbados, CARICOM Youth Ambassador Corps, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT), International Planned Parenthood Federation/WHR,United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC).

[1]/     Youth or being young refers to the period from childhood to adulthood. Definitions of a specific age range vary as youth is not defined chronologically. For statistical purposes, the age range used is primarily 15-24 years but countries in the Caribbean apply various ranges from 10-35 years old.
[2]/         The preparation of the Strategy was facilitated by Every Woman Every Child, a multistakeholder Strategy and Coordination Group facilitated by the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General.