UN calls on youth to advance peace, political progress in Somalia Featured

MOGADISHU -- The UN has called on the youth to help advance peace and political progress in Somalia.

James Swan, special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia and George Conway, acting deputy special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, emphasized the need for political processes in Somalia to reflect the composition of society.

Somalia is currently undergoing an ongoing constitutional review process, a national reconciliation dialogue and preparations for national elections in 2020.

The two UN officials, who spoke with young activists from across the country at a two-day youth empowerment and engagement dialogue that ended in Mogadishu on Tuesday evening, said the world body will continue to help young people develop initiatives to ensure their active participation in the country's ongoing political processes.

"We think prospects for lasting peace in Somalia will be improved if young people feel represented. If they participate in political life, and if they have a say in the national dialogue, they can ultimately show their stake and involvement in the country's future," Swan, who is also head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, said in a statement issued at the end of the meeting.

The review of Somalia's constitution was launched in May 2018 at a national convention held in Mogadishu and attended by more than 350 representatives from the federal government, federal member states, civil society and the diaspora.

The process is meant to lead to a permanent constitution, which will replace the provisional one, adopted in 2012.

The UN Assistance Mission in Somalia and other UN agencies are advocating for the active participation of youth and women in the process to ensure that the final document reflects the views of all Somalis.

In his remarks, Conway said the UN will step up efforts to advocate for the involvement of youth in formal decision-making processes related to some of the critical political benchmarks.

"We keep hearing that Somali youth are the voice of the future - but in a country where 80 percent of the population is younger than 35, Somalia's youth are very much the voice of today," said Conway, who also serves as the world body's resident and humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.

The horn of African nation has one of the youngest populations in the world. Experts believe that the active participation of youth in decision-making processes is vital for Somalia's stability.

Source: XINHUA