Ghulam Isaczai: Azerbaijani young people are energetic, innovative and inspirational
This year the International Youth Day on 12 August was dedicated to young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace, UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan Ghulam M. Isaczai wrote in his op-ed regarding the International Youth Day, APA reports.
“Since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security in 2015, there is growing recognition that young people are critical actors in conflict prevention and sustaining peace”, he said.
“The current generation of youth are the largest in history. There are currently 1.8 billion young people on this planet which poses an amazing opportunity, but also some challenges.
Over 600 million young people live in fragile or conflict-affected settings, therefore considering the needs and aspirations of youth in matters of peace and security is a demographic imperative.
Today, 73 million young people are unemployed, and more than 400 million do not have access to essential health services.
UN Security Council Resolution 2282, adopted in 2016, recognizes that the scale and challenges of sustaining peace requires partnerships between stakeholders, including youth organizations. It also reaffirms the important role youth can play in deterring and resolving conflicts, and are key constituents in ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has committed to fostering peaceful and inclusive societies and affirmed that “sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security”. Goal 16 aims to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
The World Programme of Action for Youth, which provides a policy framework and practical guidelines to improve the situation of young people, also encourages “promoting the active involvement of youth in maintaining peace and security”.
Young people in Azerbaijan are energetic, innovative and inspirational as evidenced in their active participation in many social, cultural and sporting activities through volunteering. They are key ingredients to the country’s socio-economic development and progress. We have to join our efforts to help these young women and men to achieve their potential not only for their own sake, but also for the betterment of their communities and the country at large.
We can engage them in many ways including the UN Youth Advisory Councils. Azerbaijan is one of the 56 countries where UN Youth Advisory Council was established. In 2017, UN Country Team revived the UN Youth Advisory Council in the country with the key role to construct a more youth responsive and inclusive UN through meaningful participation of youth in decision making related to issues affecting their life. It is focusing on design, implementation and review of the UN-supported youth policies, programmes and initiatives concentrating on achievement of Sustainable Development Goals at the country level.
The State Youth Development Programme (2015-2025) of Azerbaijan is another example of how young people's potential can be embedded in national development. Such strategies should be translated into specific actions supporting young people. Needless to mention that young people should be given the chance to be part of this process.
Young people’s inclusion in the peace and prevention agenda and in society more broadly, is key to building and sustaining peace. The process of social inclusion for youth, including participation in decision-making as well as access to quality education, health care and basic services promotes their role as active contributors to society and affords young people with opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals.
When youth are excluded from political, economic and social spheres and processes, it can be a risk factor for violence and extremist ideologies. Therefore, identifying and addressing the social exclusion of young people is a precondition for sustaining peace.
The United Nations System in Azerbaijan stands ready to support the Government in promoting youth empowerment and participation through the implementation of the UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework 2016-2020, which is aligned with national priorities articulated in ‘Vision 2020’ strategy and Sustainable Development Goals”, said the UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan.
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