December 2, 2023 (MOMBASA, Kenya) – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Peace and Security Division concluded the Second Annual Meeting of the IGAD Youth Forum for Peace. The Second Annual IGAD Youth Forum for Peace Meeting aimed to convey the forum’s progress, discuss the role of youth in promoting peace and security in the region, and identify priority areas for engagement. The event featured panel discussions on the youth’s role in peace and security, with panellists drawn from the IGAD Peace and Security Division, youth forum council members, and regional experts with experience in youth peace and security issues.
The backdrop of this significant initiative lies in the realization that the world is currently witnessing the largest youth population in history, with over 1.8 billion individuals aged between 10 and 24. Understanding the pivotal role of the youth in peacebuilding, the youth are identified as central in addressing these challenges and fostering peace, prosperity, and regional integration. The IGAD Youth Forum for Peace strives to provide a space for the youth to prevent various forms of violence and contribute to conflict transformation.
In this context, the IGAD Youth Forum for Peace was launched to establish a regional platform where the youth can express their views, engage decision-makers, and mobilize their communities for peace. The forum represents a deliberate effort by IGAD Member States to build a long-term institutionalized relationship with the youth, acknowledging their crucial role in the peace and security agenda. This forum, initiated in Entebbe, Uganda, in April 2021, serves as a crucial platform for the youth to contribute their ideas, opinions, and needs to decision-makers, fostering a sense of ownership and active participation in the peace and security agenda of the IGAD region.
The council members actively engaged in discussions facilitated by experts to identify priority areas for the forum’s future engagement. These discussions, marked by enthusiasm and a spirit of collaboration, contributed to the ongoing efforts to build a peaceful, prosperous, and integrated IGAD region with meaningful youth participation.
The forum’s guidelines provide a normative, institutional, and collaborative mechanism for mobilizing youth in the IGAD region, creating awareness, and establishing platforms for well-sensitized youth engagement. The Second Annual IGAD Youth Forum for Peace Meeting not only strengthened the resolve to include the youth in peace processes but also laid the groundwork for future initiatives. As the youth continue to express their ideas and needs, the IGAD region is poised to witness the emergence of sustainable, youth-driven peacebuilding initiatives that will shape the future of the region.
This meeting was conducted with support from the Denmark African Peace Program through JFA project.