Johannesburg, South Africa-On 5th and 6th of October, The AU-SARO, Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), AU Youth Division, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES African Union Corporation Office), and Southern Africa Partnerships for the Prevention of Conflict (SAPPC) organised the regional coordination meeting of National Youth Councils (NYCs) and Ministry of Youth Representatives Coordination in Johannesburg South Africa to provide NYCs a platform to jointly discuss, learn and share their experiences, knowledge and expertise on youth to enable them to plan and coordinate their regional Youth development, engagement and effective participation strategies leveraging existing global, continental, regional and national mechanisms. The NYCs platform is geared to drive a regional multi-sectoral dialogue, policy and practice space to amplifying youth focused initiatives and enhance their engagement in mainstream national and regional policy and practice.
In his opening remarks Ambassador David Claude Pierre stated that the meeting was vital as it galvanizes efforts already being put in enhancing collaboration between the AU, Members States and RECs in the areas of Youth Empowerment, Development and Peace and Security. He added that this is partly due to the fact that the AU strongly recognizes the Importance of Youth and it’s undeniable that we have shown a track record of policy action and commitment towards promoting Youth Participation in Socio-economic Development, Democratization and Peace and Security in the continent.</p>
Mr. Fabrice Tunde from SADC Secretariat congratulated this timely and positive Youth development meeting by highlighting that SADC has embarked on the development of a regional strategy on Youth, Peace and Security to encourage Member States to promote youth participation in peace processes and also to urge Member States to establish National Action Plans in line with regional and international instruments. He emphasised expectations of further collaborations beyond the meeting as SADC gears to developing a Regional YPS Action Plan.
Mr. Jean Yves Adou from APRM stated that the APRM’s National Governing Councils, Focal Points and the Forum of Heads of States and Governments are structures that youth can exploit to get their voices heard. He added that Country Review Reports and their National Plan of Actions at National Level can also be used by youth to hold their governments accountable and APRM is ready to support.
Mr. Alex Geiger from Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES African Union Corporation Office in his speech an emphasis was made on the meaningful engagement of the youth in continental, regional, and national efforts in addressing development and peace and security issues. Youth participation in policy discussion forums should not be for the mere presence, but their voices should be appropriately heard and addressed.</p>