Africa’s Great Lakes region youth meet in Goma to reinforce their collaboration in regional peace and development efforts

Participants of the Great Lakes youth forum standing on the site offered by the DR Congo authorities for the construction of the youth center, Goma, eastern DRC, 29 November 2016.

2 Dec 2016

Africa’s Great Lakes region youth meet in Goma to reinforce their collaboration in regional peace and development efforts

Goma (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 1 December 2016 – The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) organized a workshop for the Great Lakes region youth forum in Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on 29 November to 1 December 2016. The workshop brought together youth participants from the region as well as officials from the ICGLR, the Office of the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), UN Habitat, and government representatives from Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC.

The youth forum came into existence following a decision by the Heads of State and Government of the region at the 8th ICGLR Extraordinary Summit in July 2014 “to ensure youth participation in conflict resolution and peace building”. The main objectives of the two-day workshop were to deepen the understanding of roles and responsibilities of youth in the promotion of peace, rule of law, democracy and good governance; and to share best practices and experiences of the youth in peace and conflict.

In his opening remarks read on his behalf, United Nations Special Envoy Said Djinnit underscored the importance of youth contribution to peace building and development efforts. “I welcome this unique opportunity which brings youth from across the region to discuss ways to further reinforce the linkages between youth, peace, security, and development in the core countries of the Great Lakes region,” he said. He added that the recognition of the significant role youth can play in society is the reason why in the implementation of his mandate as Special Envoy “I prioritize support to the youth of the region in an effort to build inclusive and stable societies”.

The main objectives of the youth forum are to: provide for a platform for exchange of experiences and good practices; promote the role of the youth in peace, security and development processes; advocate for the participation of the youth in the elaboration of development and job creation policies in order to ensure that youth priorities and concerns are addressed ; promote dialogue between the youth and decision makers ; and reinforce the capacities of youth organizations of Member States of the ICGLR in coordinating, networking and educating the population on their role in the promotion of peace, human rights, rule of law, democracy and good.

The government of North Kivu province, eastern DRC, has offered a site in Goma, which will see the construction of a youth center.