October 24, 2011
Statement by the Major Group for Children and Youth delivered at the Seventh Session Of The Committee Of Food Security And Sustainable Development (CFSSD-7) And The Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting For The United Nations Conference On Sustainable Development (RIO+ 20), October 22, 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
We, the Delegates to the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting on Rio+20 on behalf of Children and Youth in the continent acknowledge that Rio+20 is of much importance to us being the generation that will be most affected by the decisions to be reached at the conference. We are united in calling upon African and World leaders to move towards sustainable development that safeguards the planet earth and its people since this is an opportunity we cannot afford to fail in meeting the needs of the present and future generations.
The initiatives pursued in order to support youth as one of the key role players in the advancement towards sustainable development, should acknowledge the vulnerability of children and young people who are in this critical lifestage. On the one hand, while children and youth have the vibrancy, enthusiasm and untapped potentials to emerge as leaders in their homes, communities, society and countries, they are most often impaired by the lack of personal guidance, support and opportunities to access their inherent potentials. This no doubt has indirect and direct implications on the physical, social and economic wellbeing of youths across our continent.
We recognize the central role that good governance and transformative leadership play in the effort to achieve sustainable development. We encourage a form of governance and leadership that is participatory, accountable, transparent and implementable at the regional, national and local levels.
We are committed to promote innovations that will develop a green economy that results in the eradication of poverty and ultimately sustainable development. We urge our Governments and partners in development to respond and not ignore the demands of the children and youth. It is a clear demonstration, that given the time, resources, and the opportunity, young people have the ability to take forward the sustainable development agenda that has been elusive since the Rio Summit in 1992.
We therefore, call for:
1. The integration of green economy and sustainable development education into schools curricula to improve capacity, knowledge, personal developmental skills of young people at all levels;
2. the implementation of humane and sustainable agricultural practices including livestock production systems to reduce hunger, starvation and enhance food security, and promote green energy technologies to enhance affordable agricultural production;
3. affirmative action that supports policies for creation of employment opportunities for young people and encourages innovations in the context of a green economy;
4. more political commitment by governments to be based on the principles of good governance and transformative leadership. We encourage the participation of children and youth in all policy and decision-making processes at all levels, as well as encourage access to the Green Fund.
In conclusion, we agree with the United Nations Secretary General that ‘failing to invest in youth is a false economy’. This is because ‘For us, it is Development First, Green Economy Now!’We urge you to support Green Economy and Sustainable Development to protect our present and prepare the future for the next generation.’
Children and Youth Major Group representatives at the Africa Regional
preparatory Conference on Rio+20:
George Ndungu (Kenya)-Organisation of African Youth, Margaret Kurumbu (Kenya)-Youth Alive! Kenya, Barr. Nkiruka Nnaemego (Nigeria) AYICC, Dr. Landry Ndriko Mayigane (Rwanda) -AYICC, Dr. Fouad Bergigui (Morocco) - AYICC, Jean Paul Brice Affana (Cameroon) – AYICC, Winnie Asiti (Kenya) –AYICC , Ezilon Kasoka (Malawi) –AYICC, Amare Abebaw (Ethiopia) – AYICC, Bertrand Foe (Benin)– Youth Volunteers for Environment, Frank Yawon (Nigeria) –Women Environmental Programme, Devindree Pillay (South Africa) - Brahma Kumaris – World Spiritual Organization, Solomon Desalegn (Ethiopia) – Prosperity for Ethiopia, Hailemelekot Teklu (Ethiopia)– Prosperity for Ethiopia, Samuel Zenebe (Ethiopia) – Prosperity for Ethiopia, Abraham T. Wate (Ethiopia) – The Green Club, Stephen Chacha (Tanzania) –WSPA, Olawale Hamzat (Nigeria) – Nigerian Television Authority, Obeng Owusu Agyekunwah (Ghana) – Voice of African Mothers, Abel Teshome(Ethiopia) - Prosperity for Ethiopia,