AU discusses youths’ role in peace and security

By Oleen Ndori

The African Union Commission High Level Ministerial Conference which is underway in Harare is deliberating on the role that young people play in the maintenance of peace and security across the continent.

Representing President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the conference, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Fredrick Shava noted that it is high time Africans to unite and silence guns.

“It is now time that our collective voices become loud; indeed, if anything, louder than the guns across our motherland Africa.  Let our voices silence the guns. Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions aims at promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development while recognising that the world has become more divided – with some regions enjoying relative peace and security while others are in endless cycles of conflicts,” he said.

“It, therefore, also calls upon us, the relatively peaceful regions to champion peace in other regions by leading the continent, showcasing best practices for sustainable peace, and standing with our brothers and sisters at their times of need.”

He also spoke on strides Zimbabwe has made in engaging youths in peace agreements and conflict resolution.

“Article 17 of the African Youth Charter and the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535 underpin the significant role youth play in peace-building and calls for their increased participation in decision making processes. Further, it calls for their meaningful engagement in negotiating and implementing peace agreements in conflict or transition settings right across Africa and indeed the world over, the role of young people is increasing greatly.

“For our part, in Zimbabwe, it is a subject which we have taken with the seriousness it deserves.  We are enacting laws and putting in place policies as well as creating opportunities for youth in positions of authority and influence to promote their involvement in society.”

The conference is also expected to provide policy reviews and adoption of international as well as regional legal and policy frameworks that advance the youth, peace and security agenda for the continent.