12 Mar 2013

Youth Empowerment, Sustainable Development and Environmental Conservation


African Youth Development Summit 27th October - 2nd November 2013, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


We live in times of uncertainty. Humanity’s strive for economic growth using current free market systems is failing. The combination of climate change, poor management of natural resources and unsustainable activities over many decades is devastating communities and livelihoods and urgent global political consensus and action is now required to begin the commitments and investments to address the challenges at hand. We need a paradigm shift in the way we think about life if the world is to live.

As the immediate heirs to this unsustainable future, Africa’s current youth population has an urgent responsibility to ensure that its communities, countries and the continent at large act as frontrunners for a safe, sustainable and productive future for them and their children. Sustainability is one of the key components of the African Youth Charter and the Youth Decade Plan of Action, so what is the best way of achieving this future in Africa?

The UN is currently progressing wide-ranging discussions on how to replace the Millenium Development Goals post 2015, but how do we ensure African Youth Voices are heard loud and clear? The founder of NAYD, Poch Tamba, said in the first edition of INSPIRE back in 2007 ‘My vast and diverse exchanges with people and youths of other continent have made it clear to me that Africa for a long time will never be like the other continents. It will have its problems that are very particular to it and will have its possible solutions that will always be very different from that of the rest of the world. And in all of these, the youths of Africa have more issues special to them than those of the rest of the world.I noticed that while most youths talked high tech and how to get the government to pay their university bills, in my mind, I worried about extreme poverty that causes death and corruption. While they worried about guns and food labels, I had nightmares about children dying of hunger and a world full of illiterate people. Though we had so much in common such as musical taste and youthful exuberance, only a blind could miss the differences that existed in our priorities. We sure were not at fault for this, but I knew then that we, as African youths need to start addressing the problems we face on the continent by ourselves before allowing others to trace the way out for us.’

NAYD believes the most effective way to ensure the voice of African Youths is heard loud and clear is to hold a summit where youth experts in a range of thematic areas are assembled under one roof to debate issues and reach collaborative agreement. There is no more effective way to reach agreement in Africa than to meet up. How many of us have patiently waited to have our say in a Google Hangout, facebook or skype group chat? Internet unreliability is a huge barrier to successful communication and therefore development in Africa. I challenge anyone to say otherwise!

The summit will bring together the best of African Youth to discuss the challenges faced and to agree the best way forward towards a sustainable and inclusive future. Networking and collaboration are key elements in NAYD’s operation and it is honoured to be partnering with The World Assembly of Youth, Organisation of African Youth, ABC4All, African Views, African Youth Decade Alliance and the African Youth Panel, holding our hands to help us make this a success. The Summit will provide a platform for youths and youth leaders to discuss and reflect on imminent issues faced in Africa. It will culminate in the formulation of key recommendations for implementation for various agencies and stakeholders. This Summit will also provide delegates with an excellent opportunity to form networks and act upon the challenges that youth are facing by curving a long term path towards a better future for Africa. The thematic concerns of the Summit shall address the following:

Ø  Quality Education for All
Ø  HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse
Ø  Leadership, Innovation and Employment
Ø  Economic Growth and Good Governance
Ø  Environment and Sustainable Development
Ø  Conflict Management and Resolution

The Summit Objectives are:
 i. To create and mobilize a platform for the youth willing to traverse a sustainable and inclusive future for Africa;
ii. To involve all stakeholders in dialogue and showcase the innovations and entrepreneurial potentials of the youth;
iii. To formulate key recommendations for all relevant stakeholders as a means to curve the path of the future;
iv. To bring awareness and empower young people by providing opportunities for personal, professional and economic growth and development;
v. To provide participants with the rightful skills and knowledge for the advancement of opportunities and solutions to conflicts and challenges in the continent;
vi. To build and strengthen the social capacity by delivering comprehensive care and a supportive environment for all the youth of the continent;
vii. To incorporate networking, collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders to address youth issues.

The expected outcome from this Summit shall be the African Youth Development Summit Declaration which will contain recommendations from the participants to all stake holders. The recommendations will outline how the themes can nationally be improved and strengthened more fully and actively towards a sustainable continental development effort. The organizers anticipate to achieve the following:

Ø  An upsurge in youth participation in sustainable development and other societal issues in Africa;
Ø  A better understanding of the concept of sustainability and the roles of the youth and relevant stakeholders in the future society;
Ø  A clearly defined roadmap to achieve sustainable development in Africa;
Ø  A strengthened network of youth and other stakeholders dealing with youth issues in Africa; and
Ø  A re-energized youth ready to take lead on the challenges faced by our society.

We shall stand united with a goal in mind: Youth, the present and the future. Rise Africa, Rise!!!
Join us at is http://summit.nayd.org

On behalf of the summit group,

Paul Shaw