The youth dialogue session held on the sidelines of third edition of Aswan Forum
The dialogue, which was held in a hybrid format on the opening day of the third edition Tuesday, is the first to be hosted by the forum, which reflects the belief in young people as a partner in decision making, drafting policies and setting plans, especially in times of crisis.
During the dialogue, the attendees shared their ideas and views on ways to empower youth to play a greater role in all kinds of institutions as well as their vision on the upcoming COP27.
Omnia El-Omiran, an Egyptian climate youth advocate, said that COP27 is a significant opportunity for young people to showcase their vision as well as partnering in setting plans and charting maps for the climate action on the continent.
The attendees agreed that Africa has the youngest population in the world who are confronted with a range of cascading risks and multifaceted crises such as armed conflict, terrorism, climate change, food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic.
They also agreed that strengthening youth-led initiatives is key to realising a peaceful and secure future for Africa in line with the Africa We Want agenda 2063.
Frederika Meijer, the representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Egypt, pointed to the 2022 UN Secretary-General report on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) that stresses the need to meaningfully engage young people in decision making, peace processes and in climate action in order to advance effective solutions.
She added that while youth comprise 42 percent of the world’s population, 60 percent of youth are in Africa and that they need to be engaged in the continent’s decision making to draft solutions that address the serious challenges the continent is facing.
She also asserted the importance of engaging them in the efforts that are meant to accelerate the sustainable development agendas in the continent through 2030.
The participants agreed that African youth are key agents of peace, particularly at the present time, when the continent is facing interconnected and cascading risks varying from armed conflicts, increased threats of terrorism and climate change.
They also agreed that climate change has adverse implications on the sustainability of peace, security and development in Africa, with disproportionate impact on youth, and can disrupt employment opportunities, fuel forced displacement, and lead to increased conflicts as a risk multiplier.
Equipped with their unique understanding of such challenges, they also agreed that African youth have been playing an important role across the different African regions in building resilience through leading a number of mitigation and adaptation initiatives.