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The African Youth SDGs Summit and the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa- an Open Letter.

Dear Compatriots,

There comes a time in history where every generation of the deprived and colonised are given opportunity to change their destiny through mental revolution of the youth – the foundation of every state is the education of its youth! The Executive Director of African Monitor in South Africa, Ms Namhla Miniki-Mangaliso said, “Africa is on a verge of a big explosion. The people in this room are those going to liberate Africa. I don’t believe salvation is coming. I think we are the salavation!”  Let us examine the African Youth SDGs Summit and the achievement of the SDGs in Africa by 2030.

 

What are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

The Sustainable Development Goals are set of 17 Global Goals adopted by countries world wide on September 25, 2017 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all – to make the world a better place by 2030. These goals were adopted to replace the Millennium Development Goals which came to an end in 2015. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been tasked with the education on the 17 goals and 304 achievement indicators.

 

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The African Youth SDGs Summit

Making the achievement of the SDGs possible in Africa, Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG), Ako Foundation, and the 2030 Youth Alliance with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Ghana) hosted the first
African Youth Sustainable Development Goals Summit at Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre, Teshie-Accra, Ghana from 1-2 November, 2017. The Convenor for the African Youth SDGs Summit was Mr Emmanuel Ametepey, the Executive Director of Youth Advocates Ghana.

 

The theme for the summit was “Youth as Drivers of Sustainable Development” with 423 delegates from 25 countries across Africa, Europe and America. The mission of the summit is to amplify the voice of the African youth, showcase innovations and offer policy recommendations on youth participation in the SDGs Processes.

 

Some high level dignitaries that participated in the summit include the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Christine Evans-Klock, the Ghanaian Minister for Planning, Hon. Professor Gyan Baffuor, the Chief Executive Officer of National Youth Authority, Mr Emmanuel Asigiri, and the Executive Director of African Monitor, Ms Namhla Miniki-Mangaliso.

Mr Emmanuel Ametepey, Convenor of African Youth SDGs Summit, giving a speech.

The summit provided the platform for delegates to deliberate on vital developmental issues which would  influence the achievement of the SDGs by 2030. The discussions spanned across thematic areas such as environmental management, gender, disability, economic and social development. The highlights of the discussions outcome are:

Youth as drivers for sustainable development

  1. AFRICAN YOUTH, GOVERNANCE AND PARTICIPATION

a) African youth must speak and create the space to engage duty bearers and meaningfully participate in decision-making at regional, national and community levels. To reap demographic dividends, development strategies and policies must mainstream the needs and concerns of the young.

b) African countries must develop and implement a comprehensive youth policy framework led by the youth and adopted by government with all its technical and institutional capacity.

c) A critical barrier to the participation of the youth and the management of youth-led organisations is resource
mobilisation and sustainability. We propose to set up African Youth SDGs Fund to finance and propel youth development on the continent.

d) Data is critical to the SDGs implementation. Technology and the active participation of the youth can drive data revolution. CSOs and government initiatives must harness the creativity of youth to generate, analyse and use data for development.

e) Ministries of Youth and Sport must re-direct their attention to their dual core mandates of enhancing the national
consciousness of the youth through effective mobilisation, empowerment, education and training as opposed to the current practice of paying exclusive attention to sports at the neglect of the youth.

f) We call on African leaders to consider reviewing presidential age requirements to at least the age of 35 years
in accordance with the operational definition of youth in the Africa Youth Charter. This is crucial to encourage more
youth to aspire to the high office of President as the current age requirement in most African countries is rather a
disincentive to the youth.

 

2. AFRICAN YOUTH AND DISABILITY

a) The SDGs hinge on inclusivity and with “leaving no one behind” as its core principle. Thus the needs and concerns of Persons with Disability (PWDs) and other vulnerable groups must be fully integrated into the SDGs implementation. The participation of PWDs and other vulnerable groups must be considered in decision making processes.

b) Disability policies must be implemented fully with emphasis on social support, fight against discrimination and stigma, accessibility to public and private facilities including buildings, hospitals, parks, educational institutions, and recreational facilities.

c) Disability issues should be a crosscutting agenda and should feature in every policy discourse and decision.

3. AFRICAN YOUTH AND EMPLOYMENT

a) We call on the African youth to take advantage of opportunities within their communities to create self-employment.

b) We call on African governments to create employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth. Governments are being called on to provide education, including technical and vocational training that adequately prepare the youth for the job market.

c) Again, we call governments to initiate national volunteer programme which is useful for capacity building and to prepare the youth for employment.

d) We call on African Government to prioritise investments in Youth Agriculture, Technology, and innovation to drive the employment agenda.

 

4. AFRICAN YOUTH AND FOOD SECURITY

a) We call on African youth to consider agriculture as a viable economic activity and explore the opportunities within the agricultural value chain and form small cooperative groups to foster knowledge sharing and exchange best practices.

b) African governments should initiate land reforms to facilitate easy access to land for the youth, including young women who want to engage in agriculture; and provide subsidies, agricultural inputs and machinery to help mechanised agriculture and to promote commercial farming.

5. AFRICAN YOUTH, ENVIRONMENT, WASH AND HEALTH

a) African governments must introduce appropriate policies and adopt technological solutions to reduce environmental pollution, especially the pollution of land and water bodies with plastics.

b) Private sector is being encouraged to venture into recycling of waste materials to promote circular economy on the continent.

c) African citizens must adopt lifestyles that significantly reduce waste generation to improve sanitation across the continent. In the management of waste generated, citizens are encouraged to dispose off wastes only at the appropriate places to eliminate environmental pollution

D) Access to water, sanitation and hygiene services must receive greater commitments at all levels by increasing access to potable water, hand washing and toilet facilities for pupils and students.

E) Distribute free or low cost sanitary pads at school to reduce girls’ absenteeism.

F) Promote access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education in basic schools.

6. AFRICAN YOUTH, YOUNG WOMEN AND LEADERSHIP

a) More girls and young women must avail themselves for training and take up leadership positions in schools, homes, workplaces, communities, and other social networks.

b) Government, development partners, private sectors and civil society should ensure that youth are active participants in efforts to strengthen gender-responsive public services in order to empower girls and women.

c) Girls and young women must be mentored and empowered to participate fully in social, economic and political spaces. Young women must take up leadership positions at all levels of society.

d) Awareness and education on violence against girls and women must be intensified at domestic and institutional levels. Perpetrators of violence against girls and women must be fully investigated and punished. Together, let’s make the laws work.

7. AFRICAN YOUTH, PEACE, JUSTICE AND SECURITY

a) African youth must serve as agents of peace and security and not agents of war, terrorism, militant groups and report any activity of terrorism to security agencies.

b) In order to mitigate threats to peace, justice and security on the continent, African leaders must have respect for human rights, promote access to justice, the rule of law and constitutionalism.

c) The threats of youth unemployment must be given much commitment and attention. Governments and private sector must endeavor to build the skills of young people and support innovative ideas for job creation.

d) The worrying phenomenon where young people have become disastrous tools in the hands of very powerful, influential and rich persons in society with its attendant problems of distractions must be halted. Towards this end, we call on all such persons to desist from this anti-human practices and further call on governments and security agencies to investigate, apprehend and prosecute such persons to nib the practice in the bud.

I hope that many of you, many young people everywhere, are finding opportunities to advocate and help achieve the SDGs and to promote human rights through activities of civil society organisations, youth groups, communities of faith, jobs in private sector and actions in political parties” –  Ms Christine Evans-Klock.

I would like to conclude by reminding the African youth that we are part of the world but Africa is our blood, toil and heritage and we have to fight the old alibis that prevented the development of Africa yesterday. Today is a new day, and we are given the best tools to carve the development of Africa. We either work together and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for Africa or we cling to the old alibis and fail. Thank you very much.

Click here to view amazing moments captured during the summit.

Best regards,

Boadu

 

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