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In Africa, about 65% of the total population is below the age of 35 years. These young people are particularly challenged and vulnerable as a result of poverty, unemployment, adolescent health issues including HIV/AIDS, conflicts, and lack of participation in decision-making processes.
The UN High Level Panel report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda released on 30 May 2013 calls on the world to ‘leave no one behind’, a critical landmark in youth-led campaigns to see the world’s new development framework inclusive of young people’s perspectives and aspirations. The Report in particular calls for the creation of decent jobs and improving the livelihood of young people.
Around 1.8 billion of the global population is young people aged 10 – 24 years, making this the largest youth generation the world has ever known. Complemented by the power of youth innovation and activism, these numbers speak strongly about the urgency of effectively engaging with young women and men in pursuit of the world’s development agenda articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Indeed the UN Secretary General has remarkably asserted that young people will be the torchbearers in the sustainable development agenda.
Youth participation is fundamental in shaping the discussions on the development agenda beyond 2015. No wonder that over the past number of years, young people have been actively engaged in identifying priorities and coming up with a set of recommendations that reflect the values and aspirations of young people post 2015.
In this regard, the Leo Africa Emerging Leaders’ Forum on engaging youth in defining a post 2015 development agenda will be held on 8th October 2015 in Kampala, Uganda. This event, organized by the Leo Africa Forum with the support of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, and United Nations Population Fund, is aimed at strengthening the political will of key policy makers to pursue inclusive and sustainable growth that devotes more attention to outcomes that improve the quality of young people’s lives. The meeting will also seek to put young people at the core of the targets and indicators aimed at poverty reduction, enhanced access to clean water and clean energy, quality education, urban development, decent jobs, sexual and reproductive health, healthcare and improved agricultural technologies.
The meeting will be held as a full day event that will include plenary discussions and break away sessions, with the participation of a broad range of stakeholders from policy-makers, to practitioners, academics, NGOs, business sector, and relevant UN agencies- to incorporate diverse perspectives and facilitate an interactive debate.