July 14, 2024
In Cabo Verde, Young People from West Africa and the Sahel Plead for Quality Education, Employment
– By Godswill Odiong

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The 3rd Annual West Africa and Sahel Youth Forum on the theme: “Empowering young women and men through quality education, decent work and innovative solutions to make conflict prevention more effective in maintaining peace and security in the region” concluded today its three days of work in Mindelo, São Vicente Island, Cabo Verde.

Organized by the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), in cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the government of the Republic of Cabo Verde, the Forum brought together young women and men from 17 countries in West Africa and the Sahel, representatives of the government of Cabo Verde, regional organizations, United Nations entities and other technical and financial partners to take stock of the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda, and to recommend innovative and integrated solutions through the promotion of youth leadership and their involvement in conflict prevention, peaceconsolidation and security in the sub-region.

The 3rd Annual West Africa and Sahel Youth Forum was enhanced by the presence of His Excellency Ulisses Correia e Silva, Prime Minister of the Republic of Cabo Verde, and Mr. Leonardo Santos Simão, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel.

In his opening address, Special Representative Simão praised the commitment of young people, and encouraged them to continue their efforts to contribute to the development and the consolidation of peace and democracy in the sub-region. On his part, addressing the young people, the Prime Minister of Cabo Verde declared that “it’s not natural, mineral or even financial resources that make the difference. It’s you who make the difference. Because it is you who, one day, will manage and govern the resources.”

During the three days, participants representing countries in the ECOWAS and Sahel regions exchanged views on the measures to be taken to implement quality education linked to decent employment, which would strengthen the participation of young women and men in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and development.

The various sessions that punctuated this third Forum enabled young people to articulate a series of pertinent recommendations that were contained in the Mindelo Call to Action for youth empowerment through quality education and decent work.

The annual Forums of young women and men for peace and security in West Africa and the Sahel are part of UNOWAS’ framework in partnership with ECOWAS to implement Resolutions 2250 (2015), 2419 (2018) and 2535 (2020) on youth, peace and security. The last two Forums were held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in December 2018, and in Abuja, Nigeria, in December 2021, respectively.

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