Youth can be pillars for sustainable peace and development – Ms. Rosa Malango

Aug 14, 2017

Ms. Rosa Malango (left), the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative delivers her remarks during the International Youth Day Celebrations held in Bundibugyo district in Western Uganda. On the right, she’s visiting the exhibition stall with the His Excellency, President Museveni (with hat) and Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Permanent Secretary – Mr. Pius Bigirimana. At the bottom right, she shares UN SDG kits with Bundibugyo’s cultural leader.

Bundibugyo - Uganda’s youthful population has been called upon become pillars of peace by using their skills to innovatively contribute to sustainable peace and development.

The call was made by Ms. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative during celebrations to mark International Youth Day which were held in Bundibugyo district, along the slopes of Mount Rwenzori in Western Uganda.

“The ideas, inspirations, aspirations, considerable energy and vision of the youth are essential for the continuing development of society. We cannot achieve sustainable development without the active participation of the youth,” Ms. Malango said.

She also called on the youth to be part of the solution and use their knowledge, skills and talents to contribute to attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ensuring that Uganda reaches middle income status.

“You are Uganda’s present and future,” she stated.

Addressing the day’s theme on “Youth Building Peace,” Ms. Malango said that the youth play a critical role in ensuring a peaceful society and this role cannot be undermined.

“This year’s theme is therefore intended to celebrate their contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace,” she added, calling on the youth to become champions of Uganda’s stability.

Ms. Malango also lauded Uganda for supporting peace mediation, peacekeeping efforts in Africa and most of all for its progressive refugee model that has made it a home to over one million refugees. Most of the refugees are young people from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

“Supporting these young people at the most vulnerable point in their lives promotes peacebuilding enabling them to become peace ambassadors and job creators in the future for Uganda and their home countries,” she said. 

His Excellency, President Museveni, who was the chief guest at the celebrations, called on the youth to champion the protection of the environment, especially forests and wetlands.

“The youth movement should de-campaign those who are shallow and don’t see far, destroying the environment,” President Museveni said.

The President promised that most of the challenges that the youth face would be solved with proper budgeting calling on youth to focus more on production and less on consumption.

Lilian Aber, the NYC chairperson who also spoke at the event, said the youth face many challenges adding that they needed at least  shs4.5billion to support operations of the district youth leadership. She also requested for 5% of the locally generated revenue in local governments to support youth programmes.

The President promised to meet with the youth leaders under the National Youth Council (NYC) to discuss challenges facing the youth.

The President also launched an initiative to empower young leaders through agriculture by handing over heifers to youth leaders of Bundibugyo district. The initiative will be supported by the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC). The initiative will be rolled out across the country to benefit youth leaders who are expected to use them to support other youth in their localities.

International Youth Day Celebrations 2017 were hosted in Bundibugyo district which had experienced tribal and post-election violence in 2016. Through the UN Electoral support, civil society actors including The Elders Forum of Uganda (TEFU) and the Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), have been engaging youth leaders in the sub-region to embrace peaceful co-existence.

About Youth Day:

In 1999, the General Assembly designated 12 August as International Youth Day. The day is intended to raise public awareness about the situation and contribution of youth around the world.

International Youth Day 2017 with the theme – Youth Building Peace, was dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.