ACCORD recently co-hosted and participated in the Third High-Level Ministerial Conference on the Role of Governments, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) in Promoting the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda. The event, which took place in Bujumbura, Burundi, from 9–12 May 2023, was a collaboration between ACCORD; the African Union (AU) Youth for Peace Africa Programme (Y4P); the Common Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); Save the Children; the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA); and the Horn of Africa Youth Network (HoAYN).
Young people from across East Africa where brought together to share their experiences and to learn about different trends in the YPS space. The event also provided the opportunity for youth to dialogue with senior experts and political leaders. Most notably, H.E. Major General Évariste Ndayishimiye, President of the Republic of Burundi and African Union Champion on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS), opened the conference and answered questions from the youth in attendance. Also in attendance were, the Honourable Marie Chantal Nijimbere, Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism of the Republic of Burindi, Honourable Ababu Namwamba E.G.H., Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts for the Republic of Kenya, and several government representatives from across the region.
ACCORD’s Programme officer, Ms Savannah Wilmot moderated the opening discussion, which introduced the continental and regional trends in the YPS agenda. Ms Wilmot also presented on a panel reflecting on the continental YPS agenda and the work of intragovernmental and development organisations in bolstering the work of young people in peace and security spaces. These discussions helped in the drafting of a communique which was then handed to H.E. Évariste Ndayishimiye, and which called for continued action on the five pillars of the Continental Framework for Youth Peace and Security.
This conference represents a significant milestone in the advancement of the youth peace and security agenda in the East Africa region. The youth present at the conference not only called for action from continental, regional, and national institutions, but also committed to share the knowledge gained through this forum with their respective constituencies and take ownership of the conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives in their respective communities to build social cohesion and promote peace and security.