29th April 2021, Entebbe, Uganda: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) launched the IGAD Youth Forum for Peace in Entebbe, Uganda with the objective to establish a regional platform led by the youth for the enhancement of peace, security, and stability in the IGAD Region. Youth representatives of the region and senior government officials of youth Ministries of IGAD member states were presented at the launching ceremony.
The launching of the Forum was officiated by the Executive Secretary of IGAD H.E Dr.Workneh Gebeyehu and the Minister of State for Youth and Child Affairs Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi from the Republic of Uganda.
Dr Workneh, in his statement highlighted that the young people are particularly vulnerable to being mobilized into destructive occupations such as ethnic and politically motivated violence, criminal enterprises and radicalization into violent extremism.
“As youth, you may be the first victims of war, but you are also the first beneficiaries of peace. Unfortunately change is usually a product of violence and confrontation, rather than dialogue and compromise” he added.
The Executive secretary also called upon the youth in the IGAD member states to take up the opportunities to influence and interact with decision-making organs of government as provided within National Youth Policies.
Hon. Florence NakiwalaKiyingi on her part commended IGAD for launching the forum describing it as a remarkable landmark in the pursuit of peace and tranquillity in the region.
“A platform for youth engagement on regional peace and security agenda anchored in a commonly shared vision is a commitment towards peace and security in the region hence a fundamental monumental achievement” Hon Kiyingi added.
The Peace and Security Division Director Hon Siraj Fegessa also in his welcoming remarks reiterated that the youth as major change makers of the today’s world, young people are very active in transforming conflict ready to give peace and also receive peace if provided with the appropriate platforms and skills.
“We cannot talk about sustainable peace and development without the active involvement of youth and active participation and ownership of youth” Hon Siraj added.
The launching of the IGAD Youth Forum for Peace is supported by the European Union through the IPPSHAR Programme.