Youth Minister: We prioritise youth participation at all levels

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Youth and Sports minister Drammeh Sidibeh said yesterday that his ministry places high premium in Gambian young peoples’ participation at all levels of the country’s development.

Addressing young people at the opening of a daylong capacity building training on the UN Security Council Resolutions 2250 and 2419 at the President’s International Award in Bakau, minister Drammeh said the National Youth Council (NYC) is championing the drive in propagating for peace, tolerance and social cohesion among young people.

Organised by the National Youth Council and funded by the United Nations Development Programme, participants came from the ministry of youth and sports and youth leaders from various youth organisations.

On 9 December 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted the Resolution 2250, which recognizes the importance and positive role of young people in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security. The resolution urges member states to give youth a greater voice in decision-making at local, regional and international levels and to consider setting up mechanisms that would enable young people to meaningfully participate in peace processes.

On 6 June 2018, the Security Council also adopted Resolution 2419 calling for increased role of youth in negotiating and implementing peace agreements, and for member states to take measures to remove the causes and prevent the radicalisation of young people and invest in them.

These resolutions become messages of hope for about 600 million young people living in conflict zones, who have often been categorised as perpetrators of violence or as victims.

Minister Drammeh said the training was significant, given the situation of young people, peace and security in Gambia’s newfound democracy.

He said NYC and its registered national youth organisations are also working with UN Agencies to promote youth and children participation in the maintenance of sustainable peace and reconciliation.

Nessie Golakia-Govld, UNDP deputy resident representative said The Gambia is at a critical trajectory in its history, in which the building of peaceful, just and inclusive societies, as articulated in SDG 16 must underpin governance and all the reform processes.

She explained that young people’s potential and abilities are key instruments to consolidate the country’s democracy and sustainability of peace and development. “Ensuring that young people are meaningfully engaged and included in political and development processes, is not just the smart thing to do, but the right thing to do,” she stated.

According to Golakia-Govld, developing a common understanding of what the resolutions demand from member states will position them well to lead in developing the road map and the capacities needed for implementing the resolutions in the country. “With many young people feeling frustrated and vulnerable from unemployment, exclusion in decision-making, deportations and return migration, Gambia cannot afford to leave its young people behind.”

National Youth Council executive director, Lamin Darboe said there is no better time for The Gambia to talk about peace than now, saying, “We cannot sustain democracy without peace.”

He said it is important that young people do not only understand the domestic laws and regulations or processes and policies regarding their participation in national development including peace building but also to build capacities of institutions to understand some of the international policies, conventions and resolutions that deal with young people and peace building.    

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb