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AYC participated in the Fifth session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development held at Palais des Congrès de la Palmeraie de Marrakech, King of Morocco from 16-18 April 2019, under theme: ‘’Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’’
The Fifth ARFSD is hosted under the high patronage of His Majesty the King, Mohammed VI and convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with regional organizations and the United Nations System.
It seeks to advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and the goals set out in Africa’s Agenda 2063. The Forum does so by providing a multi-stakeholder platform for follow-up and review of implementation progress and challenges, strengthening learning and advocating effective policy measures and actions to achieve the goals of the two agendas. In so doing the Regional forum makes important contributions to strengthening multi-stakeholder engagement and synergies, and thus promoting concerted efforts to implement and achieve the development goals of the two mutually reinforcing agendas. Four sessions of the Forum have been held since 2015.
The African Youth Commission took part in both the Preparatory and Capacity-Development Workshop for Major Groups and Other Stakeholders in the Africa Region, and the main session of Africa Regional Forum. Represented by Mr. Kawsu Sillah, Executive Secretary, AYC was part of MGoS rapporteuring team and round table panel discussion on promoting peer learning and the exchange of experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063, with emphasis on selected Sustainable Development Goals for 2019: “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.
In his presentation, AYC Executive Secretary started by saying as far as implementation of SDG 4 is concerned, at Member State level, there is Political will to provide quality and relevant education for all. He cited the recent developments in some countries as living testimonies.
He mentioned that in The Gambia, in addition to its free primary education for all, the Government recently launched a project called “Second Chance” an initiative providing education opportunities for out-of-school children and youth to attain basic education and livelihood skills; University tuition free for all undergraduates in Liberia; Free primary and senior secondary school education in many countries in Africa including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda etc.
Mr Sillah said lessons learned throughout Africa is that young people are demanding for better education services and skills development for their peers, better wage for teachers, and demand accountability from their leaders.
With regards to emerging challenges, Mr. Sillah said even though young people welcomed these initiatives as important steps for achieving SDG4, and more so to empower youth to become agents and champions for change, they challenged the Governments to ensure that they do not only provide free education but equally ensure the service providers offer quality and relevant education and skills training that correspond to current and future labour market needs.
Sharing his perspective on SDG 16, Mr Sillah said there are a number of measures in place to engage the youth in promoting peace and security through preventing them from violence, as well as encourage peer-peer foster dialogue to enhance youth participation at the local, national, sub-regional and continental levels for peaceful and secure communities.
His views on emerging challenges were that even though those measures are in place, on the opposite, young people are concerned about the volumes of violent conflict that our continent is currently witnessing, state’s inability to create or sustain economic opportunities for youth, corruption and mismanagement of public and state resources.
He said in order to address these man made challenges of our time, it is important to inspire and support youth to become the leaders of Africa, mentor them to work together with the older generation to create a sustainable future where a culture of integrity, good governance and zero tolerance to corruption will be promoted in all sectors of society.
Citing the lessons learned, Mr. Sillah said both Agenda 2030 and 2063 will be hard to archive if youth unemployment is not swiftly addressed, economic opportunities for youth not improved, and the creativity, energy and innovation of Africa’s youth are not tapped into for the continent’s political, social, cultural and economic transformation. He noted that from Transitional Justice, to Peace keeping, and to fight against corruption young people are contributing to the implementation of SDG 16.
The Fifth (2019) session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD 5) held under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” It carried out in-depth review of SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and the corresponding goals of Agenda 2063. The forum also undertake an in-depth review of SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) to address challenges and strengthen partnerships to develop capacity, harness science and technologies and mobilize and scale up finance to implement the goals.
The outcomes of ARFSD 5 will (i) feed into the 2019 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of ECOSOC, which will be held in July 2019 focusing on the same theme and selected SDGs; and (ii) be used for policy advocacy, formulation and implementation at regional and national levels. Moreover, 2019 is of special significance given that for first time the HLPF under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (SDG or Leaders’ Summit) will be held in September 2019. The ARFSD therefore offers opportunity for Africa to articulate its inputs to the Leaders’ summit as well. Such inputs will include Africa’s specific challenges in the implementation of the SDGs, gaps and levers of change to accelerate implementation.
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