ACCORD in partnership with The African Union (AU) Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) convened a North African regional Intergenerational Dialogue (IGD) on the 8th of September 2020, under the theme: Youth Silencing the Guns (STG). This was done to foster co-leadership on the theme of the year, Silencing the Guns under Agenda 2063. This theme was further unpacked into five different sub-themes and these included; a conflict free Africa; silencing poverty, hunger, youth unemployment; silencing gender-based violence; silencing corruption; and silencing climate change.
The IGD identified the key roles and activities that North African youth can play to advance the STG agenda; as well as the challenges and gaps that hinder the effective participation and contributions of the youth to silencing the guns. It further discussed ways to foster intergenerational co-leadership on silencing the guns and promotion of governance, peace, security, and development.
The recommendations which came out of this IGD highlighted the need for the leadership capacity of North African youth to be enhanced by giving young people opportunities to make their voices heard. In turn, efforts must be made at rebuilding trust between youth and governments through the civil society and political parties to ensure a conflict free North Africa. Corruption has remained an issue which comes to the fore of many conversations around the development and prosperity of Africa, as such there must be a raising of awareness about the effects of corruption in the formation of corrupt systems. There should be an increased impetus toward the inclusion of institutions and mechanisms within the African Union to make complaints against corrupt systems.
The issue of gender-based violence is one which is prevalent throughout Africa, and consequently, it is essential to ensure men’s involvement in the silencing of gender-based violence, thus serving the agenda as set out in the STG roadmap. It is essential to train boys in schools, before they become men in society, to respect girls and not to harass them. Further, we must provide premarital counselling to help couples define their roles, beliefs, and their marriage expectations, and come up with a plan for resolving conflicts so that marital rows do not lead to domestic violence. To this end, a modern platform should be created for reporting domestic abuse via text, email, phone call or social media. This platform should also be used to form an alliance or network with other active youth in neighbouring countries who share the concern over women’s issues, allowing the exchange of experience and knowledge on the topic.
Youth must be the key drivers of the STG agenda, and central to serving the agenda by silencing youth unemployment, poverty, and hunger. Youth actors from across the continent should meet to dialogue and stage open discussions in working toward eradicating youth unemployment, poverty, and hunger. Ideas should be shared in an organized fashion, and these ideas and solutions should be country or region specific as it is not certain that the solutions proposed in Europe or Asia, for example, can achieve the same success rate in Africa. It is essential that we deal with Africa according to geographical characteristics, as well as economic, social, political, and climatic characteristics.
Additionally, it was noted that focus needs to be directed on the further spreading of awareness of the seriousness of the climate crisis on social media and audio-visual media in an effort to direct African public opinion on this issue and attract more young people to the fight against climate change. There must be an encouragement of countries and investors to invest in renewable and environmentally friendly energies, especially since Africa has all the climatic conditions that produce renewable energy, such as sun and wind. Renewable and sustainable sources of energy must be the driving force behind energy production in Africa going forward.
This IGD was part of a series of six regional IGDs convened in cooperation with the AU OYE, the Kofi Anan Foundation and the International Centre for Diplomacy and the Atlas for Development, under the STG theme, and is in line with ACCORD’s strategic objective to strengthen the capacities of youth to participate in peace and security initiatives.