On Monday November 30th, ACP YPN participated in the 1st ACP Non-State Actors (NSA) Forum. ACP YPN was represented by ACP YPN delegates: Yentyl Williams (President & Founder), Bora Kamwanya (Parliamentary relations Officer) and June Paskalina Lacour (Project Coordinator). Bora Kamwanya and June Lacour made two interventions, while Yentyl Williams was in the drafting committee of the Forum along other Non State Actors from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific.
In Bora’s intervention in the Opening session on the theme of ‘Post-Cotonou’, Bora shared three important points with fellow Non State Actors. He spoke of what needs to be the innovation in Post-Cotonou regarding Youth issues. Then he addressed the Youth Conference and its importance in connecting ACP youth before finishing by talking about the importance of ACP YPN regional offices.
Firstly, Bora explained that innovation is needed in what will be the Post-Cotonou Agreement so that what it contains vis à vis the youth is pertinent and implemented not only at the ACP-EU level but also at the ACP member states level. He followed up explaining that in the future ACP-EU cooperation, there must not only be one article on ‘youth issues, but there must also be implementation provisions; and on the future of the ACP group, he explained that youth must be more formally integrated in the structure. Bora gave examples of how Youth can be integrated and how they will benefit from it. Firstly, Bora suggested that we increase internal cooperation, foster youth mobility in ACP countries, and foster Youth-mainstreaming by recognizing youth as an interest group. Secondly he added that we should give more opportunities for young people to be integrated in different societal structures, through, for example, Internships that will foster exchange with their Members of Parliaments, which also promotes awareness raising for youth on political processes. Last but not least, Bora recommended more inter-generational dialogues to really grasp the need of the youth and address them better, together.
Secondly, Bora spoke of the importance of youth-led and youth-owned initiative such as the Youth Conferences organised by ACP YPN, and invites youth from the Caribbean to attend the next one in Haiti. In Bora’s words “Give the youth the tools; they are ready and eager to work.” Bora explained how ACP YPN has enhanced triangular and South-South cooperation and at the same time has created collaboration between ACP Diaspora in Europe and ACP States through our online steering group organised before each Youth Conference.
Last but not least, Bora explained the importance of having ACP YPN regional offices. He said that it would enable youth to address the challenges they are facing in all part of the ACP group of states. He explained that in practice, it will enable local youth to bring their concerns to the ACP group of states so that the group shall also support the establishment of a coherent and comprehensive policy for realising the potential of youth so that they are better integrated into society to achieve their full potential, as stated in the preamble of Article 26 of the Cotonou Agreement.
Bora ended his address by saying that he would like to see enhanced cooperation between ACP Non State Actors so that our group of States is well equipped to address the challenges of its people, in Bora’s words “May the ACP serve us all, may we all serve the ACP.” Bora concluded by saying “Nothing about us without us.”
Did you miss it? Watch the video below:
By Bora Kamwanya