In support of African Union (AU) Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) call for collaboration on convening Inter-Generational Dialogues (IGDs) on Youth Silencing the Guns (STG) and the UN Secretary General’s call to hold UN75 dialogues, ACCORD working in collaboration with Global Peace held a virtual IGD on the 15th of August 2020 in Osun State, Nigeria. This IGD aimed to bring together diverse groups – especially those not often heard to shape a new global dialogue and crowdsource priorities and solutions to the challenges the world’s facing. The IGD was conducted under the theme of ‘Silencing the Guns by 2020” in terms of the AU’s Agenda 2063 policy document.
The discussions in this IGD noted that a conflict free Africa is not possible if poverty remains entrenched in our communities, it will always push a poor man to consider any suggestion or alternative. Where injustice pervades, corruption exists, and there is a general lack of good governance, there will be no cause to have a conflict free Nigeria. It is essential to get to the point where we learn to feed the mind, an illiterate man is a man who can be driven to conflict, but an educated man may ask the relevant questions before turning to violence.
Many recommendations came out this IGD, but most were centred around ensuring youth participation, creating a collective, youth-driven vision for the future of Africa and the challenges posed in attempting to achieve the STG agenda in Africa. There is a need to look inwardly to create employment, end poverty, and thus mitigate inequality. The fundamentals of providing food, having compassion for your fellow people, and leaders leading with conscience, is where we need to get to, to ensure we mitigate the drivers of conflict. Leadership does not only mean being in government; anybody can be a leader. Youth inclusion in leadership is essential, the youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but they are also the leaders of today.
This IGD noted that leadership, or a lack thereof, is the central tenet of most of the issues raised today. All nations need to come together, and Governments must be very intentional in implementing evidence-based research findings, there is no shortage of literature regarding the subject matter of the issues we face and governments should act with respect to the recommendations made. Essentially, governments need to collaborate, and people need to take an interest in activities founded to mitigate conflict as opposed to activities which aggravate conflict. Young people need to work to influence the space around them to reduce the harmful effect of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, as drivers of conflict.
In closing the dialogue, the youth articulated that the formation of new youth-centric ideologies should ensure peaceful and sustainable societies in Africa, centred on youth participation and leadership- a shift in this direction would be in line with ACCORD’s strategic objective to strengthen the capacities of youth to participate in peace and security initiatives.