The AU Office of the Youth Envoy, in partnership with the Africa Union’s (AU) Department of Peace and Security and the United Nation’s Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), hosted a virtual Intergenerational Dialogue (IGD) in celebration of Africa Day 2020. ACCORD’s Youth Cluster Programme Officer, Sibusisiwe Nkosi participated in the IGD which focused on how youth will co-lead the Silencing the Guns agenda, echoing the AU Commission’s strategic engagements for the Silencing the Guns (STGs) in Africa initiative. The IGD also marked the official launch of the #YouthSilencingTheGuns Campaign. It created a platform for intergenerational co-leadership and dialogue especially on the youth, peace and development agenda, and brought attention to the interventions that have ensured youth participation and empowerment. The dialogue is part of the activities that the Office of the Youth Envoy is leveraging in consideration of 2020 as a pivotal year for the actualization of AU Theme, “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive conditions for Africa’s Development,” to launch “Youth Silencing The Guns” Campaign.
The IGD included the following speakers:
- H.E Mafa Sejanamane: Chairperson AU Peace and Security Council
- H.E. Prof Sarah Agbor: AU commissioner of HRST
- Cecilia Jimez Damary: UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights for IDPs
- H.E. Bience Gawanas: Under-Secretary General USG/special advisor on Africa
- Ms Aya Chebbi: AU Youth Envoy
- Ms Jayathma Wickramanayake: UN Youth Envoy
- Mr Victor Ochen: Peacebuilder and Nobel Peace Prize nominee
H.E. Bience Gawanas, in her remarks said, ‘Silencing the guns should also be about reducing poverty and reducing inequality”. During the discussions, some of the speakers highlighted the need for ensuring that discussions such as the current virtual ones need to be also be taken off virtual platforms and be held at grassroots level, with young peacebuilders on the ground. H.E Mafa Sejanamane shared that the guns will be silenced by people who are looking to the future, instead of those looking at the past. He commented that young people need to mobilise to get rid of the guns, and that the time has come for turning the issue upside down, giving political power to the young. Ms Jayathma Wickramanayake, urge policy makers to look at concrete campaigns, agendas and action towards peace and security; and not to limit young people to consultations and service and to also bring them to decision-making and political positions.