“I want to congratulate the federal Government of Somalia, the federal member states, the UN and all stakeholders, especially young people, who were part of this process for your successful formulation of this youth policy,” Jayathma Wickramanayake said at the opening of the country’s second National Youth Conference, where the policy was launched.
“I hope that you will make those extra steps to enable youth organizations and young people to meaningfully engage in the implementation and review of this policy,” she added.
The UN had been supporting the Somali Ministry of Youth and Sports with the development of the policy since 2014. It was endorsed by the federal cabinet last month. Among its key features, the policy will promote youth participation in peacebuilding efforts and other key initiatives.
Also speaking at the Conference, Peter de Clercq, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, highlighted UN support for programmes fostering youth development in the country.
“We have contributed so far $38 million to 18 programmes that are dedicated to youth employment, youth empowerment and more youth influence in politics, and we will continue to support the youth and the government of Somalia in this very important objective,” he said.
With many of the world’s 1.2 billion young people affected by the hardship of war, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has made empowering youth a priority for Organization, and flagged the key role that they play as agents of change and critical actors in preventing conflict and building peace.
Similarly, in 2015, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution in which it recognized the positive contribution of youth in the promotion of peace and security and supported efforts aimed at advancing their development.
Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth addresses participants during the Somali National Youth Conference in Mogadishu on December 17, 2017. UN Photo / Ilyas Ahmed