As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) winds down by 2015, it is a delight to know that discussions are already reaching a frightening peak given the myriad of developmental needs of the world; especially for the developing nations of Africa. The African Youth Alliance on Post 2015 (AYA), which is an alliance of young people from various networks with spread on the continent met for three days in Abuja, Nigeria between April 23rd and 25th, 2014 at the World Bank Office. Participants were from Kenya, Uganda, The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Demark.
Following deliberations at the meeting, the following were agreed upon –
- That the Millennium Development Goals despite the challenges and relative to past development programmes on the continent has recorded some successes. There are evidences that there have been changes on the African continent in the areas where the goals are targeted. We are however concerned that none of the eight goals of the MDGs was youth specific like that on women.
- At the meeting, we expressed worries about the poor definition of youth participation by several stakeholders especially government institutions. The alliance submits that having young people attend meetings and deliberations at national, regional and international level is not the appropriate definition of participation as decisions are most times taken without their input. In essence, they are seen and not heard at these decision making tables.
- The alliance therefore decided that the most important issue which it will push relentlessly to be included in the post-2015 agenda is productive youth participation and influence especially at the phase of planning and decision making of policies. This would therefore be fed in to top areas of concern highlighted during the meeting – youth employment, quality and skilled education; security, justice and peace; open data and citizenry identification.
- That, the alliance also listened to country-specific experiences, My World Survey launched by the United Nations Millennium Campaign and partners, the African Youth Voices on Project and is impressed with the experience in Uganda where young people now have good representation in the country’s parliament which is presently at 35%.
- The alliance seeks ultimately to have a permanent forum on youth at the United Nations, whilst also agreeing that it has a lot to learn from the women movement that today has been able to push for 35% affirmative action.
- The alliance seeks to advocate for the removal of all existing barriers to inclusive active youth engagements (vulnerable groups and young people with disabilities) while also working on a buy in from other groups.
- The alliance specifically called for the inclusion of a youth Goal in the post 2015 agenda, re-echoing an earlier call by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- The meeting reached a consensus that given the huge resources that young people are and their huge population on the continent, put at about 60%, it is no longer decent to argue that youth issues are cross-cutting without being specific. We also opine that it is no longer enough to simply have young people at pre-conferences. We argue passionately that young people should sit in the room and not the corridors; and even in the room, they should have a front seat with the decision makers and be allowed visibility at every stage including when deciding on signing bilateral agreements.
- That we have highlighted entry points to begin this onerous task and we will be proactive in mainstreaming youth voices into the 2063 agenda of the Africa Union.
For: The African Youth Alliance on Post2015