UNIC Yaounde partnered with the humanitarian NGO; Promise Africa and the Organization of African Youth for Peace (OAYP) to organize a one-day training workshop for youth leaders on “Youth, Peace and Development”, on Thursday April 13, 2017, at the UNIC Yaounde Conference Room. The objective of the workshop was to build the skills of youth on the fundamentals of the peace consolidation, conflict prevention and youth participation in the process of crisis management, as actors of conflict resolution and peacemakers.
UNIC’s Jean Njita gave an overview of the correlation between peace and Development, emphasizing theoretical knowledge on the concept of Peace from Kant’s perpetual peace to Galtung’s negative and positive peace. He further painted a panoramic picture of development theories ranging from Gilbert Rist’s “history of Development” through Rostow’s “stages of economic growth”, the 1992 Earth summit held in Rio, Brazil, to the MDGs and SDGs, highlighting the correlation between the two concepts in terms of what Mcnamara considers as satisfying the “basic needs” of individuals. A key point was thus placed on the impact of peace (Sustainable Development Goals 16) as the building block for the other goals; for quoting Boutros Ghali, there can be no development without peace and no genuine peace without development.
Presentations by respective panelists focused on the following sub-themes:
“Youth employability and conflict prevention”: Lionel Dikongue identified the high rate of youth unemployment as the reason for the high involvement of youths in conflicts. He called on political authorities to embark on good governance, for poor employability will eventuality lead to more conflicts. Youths were encouraged to involve in self-employment, become entrepreneurs, for youths as job creators are the future of the world.
“Youth mobilization in peace and Development activities”: Ms Kelly Mambou based her intervention on UN Security Council’s Resolution 2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace & Security in Cameroon, stating the relevance and pertinence of this document to the Cameroonian youths in peace initiative. This historic resolution is very important for all young peacebuilders worldwide because it brings recognition and legitimacy for youth’s efforts in building peace.
“Cameroonian youths and durable peace building today”: emphasis here was on building durable peace. Using the Cameroonian context, Mr. Léo Atanga Ondoa insisted that creating this peace can be through educating and creating public awareness, training of youths, with government implementing policies that address drivers of structural violence for a durable peace building.
“Role and evolution of mediation in the African conflicts”. Clement Lobez (OAYP) harped on the importance and increasing value and role of mediation in conflict resolution, as it is an essential process in bringing conflicting parties to table for an accepted settlement, and avoid escalation. He cited the effectiveness of African models such as the gacaca courts in reconciling and healing post genocide Rwanda and called on youths to get involved, using the social media to rebuild broken homes, and their society.
At the end of the discussion with panelists, participants acknowledged that youths have a role to play in resolving conflicts and crisis. They were encouraged to use the social media to transmit messages of love and reconciliation and not violence and hate. Just as war is waged, Cameroonian youths are called to also ‘wage peace’ by making peace a full time activity. NGOs and associations working for Peace were urged to partner within a Network, for better synergy and coordination of activities geared towards building peace, for a greater impact of their activities on the field.