Wednesday, 29 April 2015

African Youth must be part of accountability systems and discussions on the future

Written by
African Monitor

Governance and accountability for African governments is essential going forward and the youth need to be at the centre of the accountability system, said speakers at African Monitor’s conference during a conference held in Sandton, Johannesburg in April 2015.  

The speakers, consisting of high-level personnel representing the South African government, the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) stressed the importance of continual engagement by the youth with various stakeholders regarding the Post-2015 agenda and said that if conversations exclude them, they should pressurise governments and agencies for inclusiveness.  

Dr Alioune Sall, Executive Director for the Futures Institute and senior advisor on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in her capacity as co-Chair of the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, said that the youth shouldn’t become complacent.  

He said that youth should think out of the box and dare to act and dare to hope as without hope and action there is no future. He also said that the youth must push for a role of exploration for possible different futures and scenarios and build constituencies for these different scenarios.  

In addition, he said that unless the youth pushed for their voices to be heard, the past trends won’t change.  

Dr Richmond Tiemoko, population dynamics policy advisor lead on the Post-2015 Development Agenda for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), agreed and said that the organisation viewed the participation of the youth as essential in the Post-2015 Agenda.  

“The commitment and engagement of youth as individuals and as a group is vital and our organisation is committed to ensure that the potential of young people are fulfilled,” he said.  

“You, as representatives of the youth in Africa, must continue to engage with various stakeholders. Also never forget that you are more powerful if you work together for the future you want to see”.  

According to Mr Zaheer Laher, director for the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and part of the SDG team for DIRCO, although there are specific targets that mention youth in the SDGs, there isn’t one that has been developed specifically to remedy issues relating to youth.   

“This is something that you as a group can push for,” he said.

He also said that it was essential that there is an effective monitoring mechanism in place that would hold governments accountable going forward and that the youth should be pushing for this.  

The elephant in the room at this meeting and all SDG meetings is that of governance said Mr Osten Chulu, Poverty Policy Advisor for the MDGs and SDGs for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  

“Governance is about responsibilities and accountabilities and the youth’s role in their own society is to watch those who have control on the resources. He said that it would be very powerful if the savings that are made from public resources could be used properly.  

“We can realise a lot of existing resources by good governance and by reducing the amount of illicit flows.  In addition, we have paid little attention to investing in youth and development in Africa and this has to change. Youth need to push for this change.  

“Be the change you want to see!”  

The speakers also encouraged the youth to look at ways in which to engage with governments regarding how the SDG targets can be implemented saying that the youth must ensure that their voices are reflected in the goals and targets.  

They stressed that the SDGs must be consensual, legitimate and inclusive.  

Mr Manamela from Statistics South Africa urged the youth to be more visible especially in meetings regarding the SDGs. He said that it was important for all dealing with the goals and targets to ensure that the voices of the youth are to be heard.  

“From now on I will ensure that the issues you raise and the challenges you are facing are taken into consideration in the meetings I attend.  I hope to see more youth participating in the workshops that we will conduct going forward. We need to hear you and see you and you need to be part of the governance processes,” Manamela said.  

When the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were formed, there was a lack of consultation at its conception which led to a number of critics saying that there was a lack of ownership and too many issues, including that pertaining to the youth, were excluded.  

In order to rectify this, the process was opened to consultations by the United Nations and African Monitor, an advocacy organisation, has ensured that those on the grassroots level and the youth’s voices regarding the Post-2015 Agenda has been heard through intensive advocacy programmes.  

Since inception of African Monitor’s youth programme, Voice Africa’s Future, perspectives and key asks from the youth from all over Africa have been compiled into a report called “The Africa we want” which has been used to inform the development of the Common African Position on Post-2015 and in advocacy with governments by African Monitor’s Youth Champions.  

In addition, the Youth Champions have created a petition calling on all African governments/negotiators to ensure that African youth’s aspirations and key asks are not lost in the Post-2015 development framework negotiations. This petition, to date, has been signed by more than 60,000 people.  

The Post-2015 Development Agenda refers to a process led by the United Nations that aims to help define the future global development framework with SDGs that will succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals, a set of eight global development targets which come to an end in 2015.  

For more information on Voice Africa’s Future, go to or  

African Monitor was established in 2006 as an independent continental body to monitor development funding commitments, funding delivery as well as the impact on grassroots communities and to bring strong additional African voices to the development agenda.   Its vision is for an African continent rapidly achieving its development potential, whose people live in dignity, in a just society where basic needs are met and where human rights are upheld and good governance entrenched.  


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