The Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA) and the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) co-host Conference on Youth, Peace and Security
The conference was convened by the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA) in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) – Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with support from the European Union and the Global Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS). The conference which held on the 29th of August, 2019 was attended by civil society organizations including youth groups, relevant government agencies, United Nations and donor agencies, members of the diplomatic corps, media, and security agencies.
In his opening remarks, the Director General of The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Dr Bakut Twah Bakut stated that UNSCR 2250 was adopted by the United Nations in recognition of young people’s role in maintenance and promotion of international peace and security. He stated that IPCR is part of this process as part of Nigeria’s implementation of the International Dialogue for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) and its New Deal for Engagement in Conflict Affected States, and that the conference will investigate, track and document progress in the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda in Nigeria while also developing a robust implementation mechanism for the country. He added that the IPCR being a government agency that is tasked with the mandate for researching, promoting, managing and resolving conflict in Nigeria and Africa, that it is committed to this process and hence the collaboration with CSDEA. Both the IPCR and the CSDEA according to the Dr. Bakut have been working together and recently set up a National Working Group to produce a progress report on the implementation of SDG 16 in Nigeria. The UNSCR 2250 is an integral part of the implementation of SDG 16 in Nigeria. While speaking, he advocated for Nigeria’s membership of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) and the g7+, as the membership will avail Nigeria the opportunity to access the benefits and support to address the issue of conflicts and sustainable peace in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA), Theophilus Ekpon took us through the journey leading to the conference. He stated that following the pattern of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, the UNSCR 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security was passed by the Security Council in December 2015 to see how young people can be recognized globally as partners in peace and development.
He added that with the passage of the UNSCR 2250, the need to domesticate the resolution in Nigeria and beyond became very clear and a Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security was formed. It is within this context that the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA) and the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) decided to partner with relevant stakeholders to domesticate this process in Nigeria.
Mr. Ekpon stated that the UNSCR 2250 was launched in Nigeria in October 2016, after which a Working Group to look into the implementation of the resolution in Nigeria was set up. He also narrated how the Secretary General of the United Nations commissioned a Steering Committee to work on the Global Study on Youth and Peacebuilding to inform the world on the state of youth, peace and security. He said the Global Study report and the report on the Leadership Role of Young People in Preventing Violent Extremism in the Lake Chad Basin were launched in Abuja in March, 2019 and participants at the launch event called for this Multi-stakeholders Conference to further identify the issues and way forward for Nigeria.
The Chairman of Occasion Mr. Isaack Otieno who is the Chief Technical Officer for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) emphasized his organizations commitment to youth inclusion, empowerment, engagement and ensuring that the Resolution 2250 is domesticated and implemented within the system, structure of Nigeria and beyond. That, his agency is ready to work with young people, stating that the voice of youth is important in the ongoing discussion on SDG 16, and hence their voices should be amplified and reflect in policies and programs that govern them.
He encouraged Nigeria to domesticate the resolution and increase the number of young people particularly women in legislative houses and public offices in Nigeria. He stated that the recent composition of appointments of Ministers in Nigeria reflects the lack of inclusion of young people. He added that relevant authorities of government should ensure that the discussion on SDG 16 is alive in the public space.
According to Mr. Otieno, Nigeria needs to sustain the dialogue around sustainable peace through the framework of SDG16, and that the establishment of a National Working Group (NWG) on SDG 16 is a demonstration of Nigeria’s commitment to domestication and implementation of the UNSCR 2250. He challenged the NWG to come up with a framework of sustainable dialogue with young people in Nigeria.
Mr. Otieno appreciated the resilient and resourceful nature of young people in Nigeria while encouraging the institutions of government to harvest and tap into the oasis of this knowledge of experience in its young citizens as they are assets to move the country to higher level of development and democracy. He said that the ongoing governance challenges of armed conflict, insecurity, within Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin provide opportunities that must be harnessed for sustainable peace and development. Therefore, the international community and development partners should work together in achieving the aspiration that came from the High Level Meeting that took place in Niger for inter-state development, peace and security.
He concluded by saying that we cannot achieve sustainable peace without the realization of the commitments and goals of resolution 2250 including the incorporation of youthful voice in every space, dialogue, engagement, and meeting.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Ingrid Skjolaas, Charge De Affairs of the Norwegian Embassy in Nigeria briefed the stakeholders on Norway’s involvement in trying to resolve the Lake Chad Basin crisis in recognition that crisis cannot be solved by one agency rather it is through collaboration and co-hosting to provide holistic solution and focusing on humanitarian support, development, peace and dialogue. She added that Norway is committed and ready to support those working in the area of peace and dialogue with reference to youth engagement and involvement.
In her goodwill message, the Director for Youth and Social Development in the Ministry for Youth and Sports Development,
In his goodwill message, the representative of the Chief of Air Staff and Director of the Department of Military-Civilian Relations, Air Commodore David Aluka stated that every military personnel started their career as youth and so the military is a beneficiary of the youth population. Therefore, the military is committed to working with the youth, but encourage them to see
Nigeria as their own by getting involved in nation building and national security. He stated that security is centered on citizens and therefore requires the efforts of the entire nation, adding that those in the helm of affairs can only be accountable if the citizens are part of the system.
The representative of the Senior Special Assistant to President on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Dr Bala Yusuf Yunisa stated that the 17 SDGs cannot be achieved without SDG 16 and 17, adding that Nigeria has made significant progress in terms of institutionalizing the framework for SDGs implementation, policies and programme that support horizontally and vertically to attain SDGs in Nigeria.
He stressed that the activities of Boko Haram in the North-East, armed banditry in the North West, herder-farmer crisis in the North-Central and kidnappings across the country has combined to hamper the progress of the attainment of SDGs in Nigeria. He welcomed the idea of the conference, stating that it is timely and important in ensuring that the country is on track to achieving the 2030 agenda. He concluded his speech by encouraging participants to stay committed to the UNSCR 2250 process and work closely together as policy makers and development practitioners.
In his presentation, Mr. Andrew Nkemneme of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) briefed the participants about the agenda and structure of the conference. Thereafter, he gave an overview of the UNSCR 2250 as it relate to youth, peace and security. He stated that young people have been seen as perpetrators but resolution 2250 mandates a change of narrative. He presented the objectives of the program as follows:
1. To deliberate on the resolution and design an Action Plan that can influence the policies and practices in Nigeria.
2. To create awareness on the UNSCR 2250.
3. To further deliberate on the Global Study on Youth Peace and Security. 4. The further deliberate on the report on the Role of Young People in Preventing Violent Extremism in the Lake Chad Basin. 5. To examine success stories, challenges and the way forward in the overall implementation of Youth, Peace and Security policies and programmes in Nigeria.
He added that the outcome of the conference will input into the work of a technical team that will be developing a National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR 2250 (Youth, Peace and Security) in Nigeria.