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.

The first “International Symposium on Youth Participation in Peace Processes” was successfully held!

The first “International Symposium on Youth Participation in Peace Processes” was held in Helsinki, Finland on March 5-6th where BKMC CEO Monika Froehler participated. The youth participants from all over the world openly discussed the improvements needed in the participation of youth in operational and political aspects to realize the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250 (2015) and UNSCR 2419 (2018).

President of the United Nations General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa listened to the youth activists’ appeals and said that “young people need support as agents of change” and that “young people help to reform the UN.”

The participants actively shared critical thoughts on the status quo of the actions taken and changes made about the resolutions for youth. Discussing what still needs to be improved in terms of including youth in the peace process, the young peacebuilders presented recommendations for the policy change and how they can contribute.

“Let us say enough to the misconceptions that have allowed young people’s capabilities and capacities for peacebuilding and sustaining peace to go unrecognized and undervalued,” said Wickramanayake.

Under the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the governments of Qatar and Colombia, the event was organized by the UNSG’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake and Search for Common Ground in partnership with the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY).

“Build frameworks to engage youth in the way society is ruled and run. Inclusion is the name of the game,” said Colombian Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo of Foreign Affairs at the symposium.

This symposium brought in lots of positive energy and strengthened bridges between the aspiring young leaders and the world leaders from different sectors and from different parts of the world. BKMC CEO Froehler expressed that lots of enthusiasm was evident during the symposium for “shining a light on youth participation in peace processes.”

Froehler emphasized that “the light gets stronger when we are shining together.”

Watch the livestreamed video of the symposium here: https://formin.videosync.fi/youth-participation-in-peace-processes

Photo by: Nikke Puskala