Ban Ki-moon draws attention to the urgency of youth empowerment in the latest ADA publication

In their latest publication, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) focuses on Africa’s youth and their vital function for the future of the continent. Africa has the highest number of people under the age of 25, with around 600 million youth in 2017 accounting for almost half of the continent’s population.

Young people represent potential consumers, producers and innovators and can thus contribute to regional economic growth. The risks of conflict, poverty and instability however push more and more youth towards emigration. The report states that investments in health and education systems must dramatically improve in order to make young people’s opportunities in their own countries attractive. Gender inequality and the lack of jobs further hinder sustainable development and a prosperous future for Africa’s youth.

Co-Chairman Ban Ki-moon emphasizes the urgent need to include and empower youth all over the world. “We cannot afford to waste their talents” he claims and points to the fact that in no time in history have there ever been more young people than at this moment.

Investing in human capital should be made a priority if the continent wants to cope with rising demographics. Africa’s youth is energetic and ambitious and more connected than ever before. They have plans but need political will and new social infrastructures in order to fully contribute to economic growth and live happy, sustainable and determined lives.

UN Youth Envoy on Youth Empowerment in the Field of Peace and Security

Last week, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth, along with two other young female speakers, Sofia Pierre-Antoine and Kessy Ekomo-Soignet, delivered inspiring speeches at the UN Security Council (UNSC) on youth empowerment in the field of peace and security. Ms. Wickramanayake emphasized how young people, especially young women are engaging themselves in active movement to lead changes in the field.

The UNSC announced the resolution 2250 which was the first international policy framework to recognize young people’s roles in conflict prevention and resolution, and peace building in 2015. In accordance with the UNSCR 2250, a Youth4Peace community has been putting power of young men and women together to promote and maintain international peace and security.

As three years have passed now, she points out there are still existing issues of “the growing mistrust from young generations towards former political institutions” and “the exclusion of young people from political, civic, and economic life.” In attempts to solve these issues, the youth envoy strongly asked the UN Security Council to broaden opportunities for young people to participate and contribute in the matter while at the same time working on reducing the mistrust between the youth, their governments, and the multilateral system.

She made three suggestions:

  1. Support, recognize, fund, scale up, and protect the peacebuilding of young people.
  2. Prioritize political participation for young people to be fully engaged.
  3. Partner to continue efforts and promote the youth’s activities.

Watch Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake’s speech at the UNSC 2018 here.

Source: https://www.youth4peace.info
Photo: UN Photo by Mark Garten