Strengthening the Capacity of National Youth Councils on Peace and Security

Alebtong, Uganda, Tuesday, September  27, 2022: COMESA through the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) working jointly with Save the Children and the Horn of Africa Initiative, are hosting a regional capacity building Forum in Alebtong 386 kilometers north of Kampala in Uganda. The forum has attracted over 70 young leaders drawn from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia and the host Uganda.

The objective of the Forum is to strengthen the participation and capacity of national youth councils, youth-led and youth-focused organizations on the youth, peace and security agenda in Africa.

Specifically, the four-day training opened on Tuesday 27 September 2022. It is expected to strengthen the role of youths in implementing the ‘Silencing of the Guns in Africa Initiative’ and the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR 2250) of 2015 which recognizes that young people play an important role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.

During the forum, participants will also look at the African Union continental framework on youth, peace and security focusing on the five defined pillars; participation, prevention, protection, partnerships and disengagement & reintegration.

Head of the Governance, Peace and Security Unit at COMESA Secretariat, Ms Elizabeth Mutunga, who is leading a team of Early Earning Experts at the forum said the interaction will also assist participants identify and strengthen innovative proposals undertaken by national youth councils in peace-building and peace processes at the national and regional level.

The training will also help strengthen the capacity of the youth councils in engaging with Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Mechanisms and the private sector in fostering the peace discourse.

At the end of the workshop, it is expected that youth engagement in peace and security will be strengthened especially the Silencing the Guns agenda and reinforce the capacity of the national youth councils. The partners also plan to establish a regional platform based in Abeltong for networking, information and sharing of lessons.

 This regional training follows a Decision by the 17th Meeting of the COMESA Ministers of Foreign Affairs who urged Member States to prioritise building of resilience as well as adopting the COMESA Early Warning System Structural Vulnerability Assessment (COMWARN SVA) model.  Among other things, the model has identified youth unemployment as a structural factor to conflicts in most COMESA Member states.

Since November 2021, COMESA in collaboration with partners has organized two High Level Inter-Ministerial Conferences in Nairobi, Kenya and Harare, Zimbabwe whose main objective was to deliberate on how to better support, promote and invest in young peace-builders in region and their engagement with RECs.

A key recommendation was on the establishment of a one stop youth centre and strengthening the capacity of youth-led organizations and national youth councils to engage in national and regional peace-building discourse.