October 24, 2011

Statement by the Major Group for Children and Youth delivered at the Seventh Session Of The Committee Of Food Security And Sustainable Development (CFSSD-7) And The Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting For The United Nations Conference On Sustainable Development (RIO+ 20), October 22, 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

We, the Delegates to the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting on Rio+20 on behalf of  Children and Youth in the continent acknowledge that Rio+20 is of much importance to us being the generation that will be most affected by the decisions to be reached at the   conference.   We are united   in   calling   upon   African   and   World  leaders   to   move towards sustainable development that safeguards the planet earth and its people since this is an opportunity we cannot afford to fail in meeting the needs of the present and future generations.

The initiatives pursued in order to support youth as one of the key role players in the advancement towards sustainable development, should acknowledge the vulnerability of children and young people who are in this critical lifestage. On the one hand, while children and youth have the vibrancy, enthusiasm and untapped potentials to emerge as   leaders   in   their   homes,   communities,   society   and   countries,  they   are   most   often impaired by the lack of personal guidance, support and opportunities to access their inherent potentials. This no doubt has indirect and direct implications on the physical, social and economic wellbeing of youths across our continent. 

We   recognize   the   central   role   that   good   governance   and   transformative   leadership play   in   the  effort  to  achieve    sustainable    development.      We   encourage  a     form   of governance       and    leadership    that   is participatory,     accountable,      transparent   and implementable at the regional, national and local levels. 

We   are   committed   to   promote   innovations   that   will   develop   a   green   economy   that results in the eradication of poverty and ultimately sustainable development. We urge our Governments and partners in development to respond and not ignore the demands of the children and youth. It is a clear demonstration, that given the time, resources, and   the   opportunity,   young people   have   the   ability   to   take   forward  the   sustainable development agenda that has been elusive since the Rio Summit in 1992. 

We therefore, call for: 

      1. The integration of green economy and sustainable development education into schools   curricula   to   improve   capacity,  knowledge,   personal   developmental skills of young people at all levels; 
     2.  the implementation of humane and sustainable agricultural practices including livestock   production   systems  to   reduce   hunger,   starvation   and   enhance   food security,    and    promote     green   energy    technologies     to   enhance    affordable agricultural production; 
     3.  affirmative      action    that  supports     policies    for   creation    of   employment opportunities for young people and encourages innovations in the context of a green economy; 
     4.  more political commitment by  governments to be based on the principles of good      governance     and    transformative    leadership. We     encourage     the participation of children and youth in all policy and decision-making processes at all levels, as well as encourage access to the Green Fund. 

In   conclusion,   we   agree   with   the   United   Nations   Secretary   General   that  ‘failing   to invest in youth is a false economy’. This is because ‘For us, it is Development First, Green   Economy   Now!’We   urge   you   to   support  Green   Economy   and   Sustainable Development to protect our present and prepare the future for the next generation.’ 

Thank you, 

Signed by 
Children    and     Youth   Major     Group    representatives     at   the  Africa   Regional 
preparatory Conference on Rio+20: 

George Ndungu (Kenya)-Organisation of African Youth, Margaret   Kurumbu (Kenya)-Youth Alive! Kenya, Barr.    Nkiruka     Nnaemego (Nigeria) AYICC, Dr.   Landry  Ndriko  Mayigane (Rwanda) -AYICC, Dr. Fouad Bergigui (Morocco)  - AYICC, Jean    Paul   Brice   Affana (Cameroon) –   AYICC,           Winnie Asiti (Kenya) –AYICC , Ezilon    Kasoka (Malawi)   –AYICC,  Amare Abebaw (Ethiopia) – AYICC, Bertrand      Foe (Benin)–   Youth      Volunteers     for   Environment, Frank      Yawon (Nigeria)   –Women Environmental Programme, Devindree   Pillay (South Africa)  -  Brahma   Kumaris  –  World   Spiritual   Organization, Solomon Desalegn (Ethiopia) – Prosperity for Ethiopia, Hailemelekot Teklu (Ethiopia)– Prosperity for Ethiopia, Samuel Zenebe (Ethiopia) – Prosperity for Ethiopia, Abraham T. Wate (Ethiopia) – The       Green       Club, Stephen         Chacha (Tanzania) –WSPA, Olawale       Hamzat (Nigeria) –   Nigerian      Television     Authority, Obeng   Owusu   Agyekunwah (Ghana)  –  Voice   of   African Mothers, Abel Teshome(Ethiopia) - Prosperity for Ethiopia, 



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