December 5-7, 2022 (BISHOFTU, Ethiopia): IGAD Peace and Security Division just concluded a 3- Day capacity building training workshop for the Council of the IGAD Youth Peace Forum in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, on the 5th -7th of December. The objective of the workshop is to constitute the Council of the IGAD Youth Forum for Peace, as well as to; build their capacities, and discuss the priority areas of the IGAD youth forum for peace. The participant comprised of youth from member states, representing their National Union Associations, Unions, and Ministries.
The IGAD strategy 2021-2025 acknowledges that youth play a critical role in peace and security of the region. IGAD is also on the process of developing the IGAD Regional Youth Policy. Considering this and other factors that necessitate the youth engagement, the IGAD Executive Secretary directed the Peace and Security Division to establish the IGAD Youth Forum for Peace.Accordingly, IGAD Peace and Security Division launched the IGAD Youth Forum for Peace on 29th April 2021 in Entebbe, Uganda with the presence of the IGAD Executive Secretary, Minister of State for Youth of the Republic of Uganda, representatives of the National Youth Associations and Youth Ministries of IGAD member states. The IGAD Youth Forum for Peace is a regional platform to give youth an opportunity to express their ideas, opinions, and needs to decision-makers, and mobilise the youth community for peace at the national and regional levels. The regional platform will create an opportunity for the youth of the region to play their role in durable and sustainable peace.
The IGAD region has a predominantly young population with more than 60 percent of the population under the age of 25. Youth unemployment is very high, and youth are active both as perpetrators and victims of conflicts indicating the fast-changing trend in the political and economic importance of youth inclusion in all aspects of society. Although this demographic age structure provides a good opportunity for economic growth, it requires adequate engagement of the youth through the appropriate forums to contribute to peacebuilding and receive education and training on the same. IGAD Member States have youth policies but with limited focus on the role that youth play. Youth associations exist in Member States but with little regional peace and security focus.
In his opening remarks, the Director of Peace and Security Division, Hon. Siraj Fegessa emphasized the vitality of youth engagement in Peace Processes. He said that “The active involvement of youth in Peace and Security matters would promote to effectively achieving IGAD’s vision of a resilient, peaceful, prosperous, and integrated region where citizens enjoy a high quality of life.”
This workshop was conducted with financial support from the Government of Denmark, under the Danish African Peace Program.