The third Southern African Development Community (SADC) Youth Forum will focus on the importance of the Blue and Green Economy to drive sustainable development.
The Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYoF-SADC) is a regional development platform for youth in the SADC region, works with SADC Secretariat, SADC-CNGO, SAT among other regional organizations to empower young people and ensure sustainable inclusion. SAYoF-SADC is the official convener of the SADC Youth Forum and SADC Youth Parliament. SAYoF sits in the Global Coalition for Youth, Peace, and Security, an UN-CSOs partnership to advance youth for peace.
SAYoF also sits in the Dengue Advisory Group, hosted by the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY) as the Africa Focal Point, and appointed by Africa Union (AU) to be part of the Africa Youth Front on Covid-19 a high-level policy and advocacy framework by the Africa Union (AU) Youth Envoy for young people to co-lead Africa’s response to Covid-19.
The SADC Youth Forum is an annual event hosted before the SADC Heads of States and Government Summit to deliberate on critical issues affecting young people in the region and proffer solutions in line with Development Strategies formulated by SADC and the Africa Union.
The SADC Youth Parliament which seats during the SADC Youth Forum is an opportunity for young people to discuss issues at the regional level that affect them from the community, national and regional levels and to proffer solutions of a policy nature at the regional and global level to effect shifts and action in the policy. The Parliament is composed of Youth (aged, 18-25 years) drawn from the 16 SADC Member States.
This year’s forum was launched on the 15th of July 2021 in Lilongwe, Malawi. Conveners at the launch were Maggie Mwape (SADC Youth Forum Regional Co-Chair); Reon Van De Merwe (Head of 3rd Youth Forum Technical Committee); Relebohile Lefojane (Deputy Head of 3rd Youth Forum Technical Committee); Brendon Malaba (3rd SADC Youth Forum Head of Media and Communications) and the 3rd SADC Youth Forum Technical Committee.
The leadership acknowledged the progress and gains achieved from the First and Second SADC Youth Forums which were held under the themes “Catalyzing Youth Agency in Regional processes: Towards a Youth Friendly SADC” in Tanzania 2019 and “Catalyzing Youth Agency in Regional Processes: Our Future Starts Today” in 2020 the initiative has had reach to over 5,000 Youth.
It was mindful of the contribution of the two SADC Youth Forums which allowed for Youth to contribute to the development agenda and coordinate key efforts at the Regional level accordingly, SAYoF-SADC has been honored by several regional and international institutions on its capacity to push the youth development agenda. These include the selection of SAYoF by Africans Rising as one of the top ten Africa Youth Movements for 2020, appointment to sit in the Dengue Advisory Group an international body focused on Neglected Tropical Diseases, Dengue in particular and SAYoF sit in the Global Coalition for Youth, Peace, and Security, an UN-CSO partnership to advance youth for peace among others.
The Third SADC Youth Forum will run under the theme “Blue and Green Economy for Sustainable Development” and will be popularized under the motto” Blue, Green, Smart, and Sustainable!”. The Forums sessions locate the role of and the support needed towards youth initiatives in realizing the two agendas for the region. Under the Green Economy, the youth looked at; (i) Sustainable renewable energy, (ii) Ecosystem restoration for nature and people, (iii) Climate Adaptation resilience, and (iv) SADC economy recovery, youth concerns on debt. Under the Blue Economy, the youth will look at; (i) Sustainable livelihoods for fishing communities, (ii) Investment in aquaculture initiatives, (iii) protection of oceans and coastal lines, and (iv) Youth Blue economy champions.
The Third SADC Youth Forum will be held virtually due to the effects of the Corona Virus Pandemic with a few events hosted physically in Malawi the host Country of this year’s Forum. These physical meetings were held in line with set WHO and Malawian Government guidelines.
The Third SADC Youth Forum will be attended by youth representatives from 16 SADC countries and communities, key stakeholders: SADC, African Union, AU Youth Division, Representatives of National Youth Councils in SADC, Youth Organisations, Youth from marginalized communities, the Media, SAYoF Country Chapter representatives, Representatives of Youth organizations, National Youth councils, international and regional institutions such the UN, Africa Development Bank, World Bank, IMF, AUDA-NEPAD and important stakeholders who support youth work. This year’s Forum anticipates reaching out to over 15,000 Youth through the Forum sessions and online platforms.
The Third SADC Youth Forum seeks: (1) To proffer youth action-oriented approaches and initiatives to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in SADC, (2) To lobby for partner support for effective implementation of the 2020 and 2021 SADC Youth Resolutions & Interventions, (3) To formulate a youth position on key imaging issues to be submitted to the SADC Heads of States and Government through the SADC Secretariat, (4) To increase media coverage on youth issues related to development in southern Africa and (5) To establish and strength media partnership with the youth forum.
The Forum will be led by the 3rd SADC Youth Forum Technical Committee drawn from youth across the SADC region and partners ensuring that the Forum is Youth-led and driven.
This year’s Forum will run from the 10th to the 13th of August 2021 and will feature 12 key sessions that will focus on the following:
- Official Opening Session & the seating of the SADC Youth Parliament.
- Education, Science, and Technology focusing on ‘Strategies to ensure Inclusively and Quality Education During Covid-19 Pandemic’.
- Media and Youth Round Table: Locating the Role of Media in Sustainable Youth Development focusing on ‘Locating the Role of Media in Youth Development.
- Health focusing on ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Malaria and Corona Virus.
- Blue Economy and Green Economy Youth Strategies/Actions/Initiative Development.
- Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement (AfCFTA) focusing on ‘the Impact of Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement (AfCFTA) to Cross Border’.
- Governance, Peace, and Security
- International Youth Day Celebrations will feature the ‘Light Up-Youth Agenda in celebration of International Youth Day.
- Pan-Africanism, Culture, and Heritage focusing on ‘Indigenous Knowledge Systems.
- Disability in which the ‘SADC Youth Champions for the Albinism Agenda (SAYCAA)’ project will be launched.
- Gender Justice focusing on ‘Addressing Gender-Based Violence during and Post Covid-19’.
The Third SADC Youth Parliament will be held under the theme: “Stop The Bleeding: Enhancing Domestic Resource Mobilization to Finance Youth Development (Bolstering SADC youth participation in global tax reforms to curb IFFs and improve finance for sustainable development in Africa”.
This comes in the recognition that SADC Countries need to sustainably and maximally benefit from their natural resources and public taxation through harmonized tax systems to curb tax competition among states, curbing harmful tax practices, abolishing tax havens, and other forms of illicit financial flows. This is key to driving the Blue and Green Economies and prosperity with posterity in the SADC Region.
Accordingly, the Third SADC Youth Parliament will have 80 young people aged from 18 to 25 years of seating age in the SADC Youth Parliament to debate and co-create concrete recommendations of Tax Justice and effective utilization of resources.
The Third SADC Youth Forum and Youth Parliament are made possible through the partnership and support of various organizations keen on driving youth participation and development on the continent.