09.03.2017 - UNESCO Office in Harare

2017 National Youth Forum: Amplifying Youth Voices in Zambia

The National Youth Forum of Zambia officially opened at the New Government Complex in Lusaka today. Over 1000 young women and men from all over Zambia as well as senior government officials, youth organizations, civil society, United Nations (UN) agencies, private sector and members of the diplomatic community attended the event.

The 2017 National Youth Forum is an opportunity for the government of the Republic of Zambia to seek youth support in the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the 2015 National Youth Policy and its Action Plan. It will also provide an opportunity for the youth to engage the government on matters that affect their well-being and make recommendations that are best suited to resolve the challenges that young women and men face.

The forum which is being organized by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development and UNESCO in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Action Aid was officially opened by the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Mrs. Inongwe Wina, who spoke on the need for the youth to connect with governance processes in the nation regardless of political affiliation and fully benefit from development plans.

Speaking at the opening session of the forum, UNESCO Regional Director and Representative, Professor Hubert Gijzen highlighted that the youth play a critical role in shaping developmental action in their communities. He applauded the youth across the region for taking the initiative to improve their communities by engaging in many entrepreneurial initiatives that have the capacity to completely turn around the economy. Prof. Gijzen also appealed to the government to continue investing in the youth as they are the region's greatest resource.

The UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan called upon the youth to complement government efforts by engaging in world affairs through the UN. She extended an invitation to the youth to join efforts being made by the UN Secretary General’s office and play leading roles in the implementation of UN programmes and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNESCO’s work on youth in Zambia spans over a multitude of areas from social inclusion to education, developmental action, communication as well as the preservation of Zambia’s rich culture and heritage. Ongoing projects include the Basic Education for Africa Rise (BEAR), World heritage and sustainable tourism, Empowering local radios with ICTs, and that on promoting quality education.

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