by Maximilla Wafula
Deputy Executive Secretary Ambassador Amb .Yasir Ibrahim Ali Mohammed at the youth forum general assembly in the Republic of Kenya , to address distinguished youth delegates from the 12 ICGLR Member States. Today he is seeing a much, much, brighter future for the Great Lakes region.
He thanked the Government of the Republic of Kenya for their warm hospitality. He also recorded his deepest appreciation to all Partners, the United Nations agencies in particular UNFPA for their strong and unfettered support over the years. Furthermore, he welcomed all to the Youth Forum General Assembly. bringing to all warm greetings from H.E Amb Samuel João Caholo, the Executive Secretary of the ICGLR.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The great Lakes Region is home to young people, who make up close to 75% its the population. The region has the largest youth generation in history. However, many of the young people face many socio-economic challenges. The majority of the young people are living in poverty. Youth unemployment is unacceptably high and reaching alarming levels in several Member States. This situation is leading many of our young people to fall victim to exploitation, violence and radicalisation.
These political and socio-economic challenges facing the region and its people are surmountable. They can be resolved. We should never fall to the illusion that we cannot overcome these challenges if we work together. If you, the youth, work together with determination and discipline, these challenges could be resolved in your generation. I have full confidence because young people are full of innovative ideas and energy.
Thus, as a region, we hold a strong view that we have a duty not only to recognise this reality but also to understand that in such demographic realities, the youth hold enormous potential for change and positive action. Thus, as ICGLR, we believe that we will not attain stability, security and peace as well as sustainable development if the young people are not fully and meaningfully involved in all processes of decision-making. However, our young people will not fully and meaningfully influence decisions if the region does not invest in their education, health and security.
The holding of the General Assembly is a testimony that your leadership matters and is needed now more than ever before. As a region, we have prioritised youth issues and matters. This could be attested by the decision of the Heads of State and Government to establish the Youth Forum and to establish a physical Youth Forum Secretariat in the Nairobi, with the signing of the Host Country Agreement early this year. Join me to applaud the Republic of Kenya for offering to host the Youth Forum Secretariat and operationalise it for next two years.
In order to concretise and operationalise the Youth Forum Secretariat, this Assembly has a role to vote in a new Executive Committee, in accordance with the Youth Forum Accord signed by the 12 Member States. You also have a duty to consider and finalise the Youth Forum Secretariat Strategic Plan (2022 to 2026), which will serve as a blueprint to guide the secretariat and young people in driving its agenda in the next 5 years in tandem with the Pact on Security, Stability and Development.
In attendance was Honourable Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts, Republic of Kenya.
Representative of the UNFPA,
Representative of the Office of Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region.
He thanked the outgoing executive committee for steering the Forum from its infancy to this point where it’s able to walk. As we go into electing new leadership, we need to learn from the of the old executive, to remain united and be on the same page for growth and development. It is through dialogue and consensus in our decisions that we are going to contribute to attaining the overall ICGLR mandate. As your Secretariat, we remain committed to facilitating your activities. However, we call upon you to continue to build and respect ICGLR image.
In conclusion, it is my hope that this Assembly of great minds will provide a platform to enhance discourse while ensuring that we share lessons and experiences. I therefore wish you all fruitful deliberations and look forward to receiving the outcomes and more importantly, the continued engagement on this matter.