Strategic dialogue on the implementation of youth frameworks in the central African region

Image source: Freepik

Supporting regional efforts to promote youth engagement in Peace and Security at the national level.

ACCORD, in partnership with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) convened the virtual Strategic Dialogue on the Implementation of Youth Frameworks in the Central African Region. 

The dialogue, which took place on 03 August 2023, offered the platform for ECCAS country representatives to share lessons learnt on the process of adopting the National Action Plans (NAPs) on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS), with countries who are still in the process of developing NAPs.  Speakers at the dialogue included, Commissioner Yvette Ngandu, ECCAS Commissioner for Gender, Human and Social Development; Mr Saji Prelis, Search for Common Ground – Director, Children & Youth Programs; Dr Rhuks Ako, Co- convener of the AU Youth For Peace Program; Representative from Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mr Joseph Akamili Chikwanine; Representative from Burundi Mr William Ndihokubwayo, and Mr Christian Achaleke Leke, the Central African Youth Ambassador for Peace.   

In his opening remarks, Mr Saji Prelis who has been on the frontlines of the implementation of the YPS Agenda globally shared, “YPS NAPs are processes, not products, work continues after the development of a NAP”. He further highlighted recommendations, which ECCAS member states and young people in Central Africa can consider when developing NAPs. Mr Prelis emphasised the need for understanding the context of the country; having clear indicators to measure the implementation of YPS NAPs; and integrating YPS objectives into other relevant frameworks and political processes such as constitutional reform at a national level.

Within Central Africa, the DRC is the only country that has an YPS NAP whilst Cameroon and Burundi are still in the process of developing NAPs. The three countries had the opportunity to engage and share their experiences and the challenges encountered in the development of the NAPs. Additionally, possible prospects were outlined, and best practices on the processes were shared as guidelines on how to shape YPS NAPs in the Central African region.  A key recommendation that came through was the need to align the development of the YPS NAP to national youth policies that already exists, specific to its country context.  A further recommendation that emerged was the need for government buy-in and engaging various YPS networks. This was emphasised as an approach that could broaden the reach of consultations, curate buy-in from youth practitioners, and utilise structures within coalitions, such as steering committees, to assist in the implementation of the NAP.

In her closing remarks, Commissioner Ngandu shared that the absence of national youth policies delays the process of addressing key issues that affect young people in Central Africa. She further stated that Regional Economic Communities have a role to play in encouraging member states to develop national youth policies and align them with YPS NAPs. 

As part of its YPS commitments, ACCORD will remain engaged with ECCAS to support efforts at national level for increased youth participation in the region.

Article by:

Thokozile Nkgadima
Programme Administrator