They are doing so in support and recognition of this year’s 38th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit of Heads of State and Government theme: ‘Promoting infrastructure development and youth empowerment for sustainable development’.
The Summit will take place in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, on the 17th and 18th of this month.
Under the theme ‘We are One’, youth leaders from southern Africa are urgently calling on the SADC Heads of State and the SADC Secretariat to engage youth in pressing issues pertaining to peace and security in the region.
While SADC leaders enter into deliberations on youth empowerment for sustainable development, the youth are suffering from the scourges of political violence and corruption,chiefly in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Young leaders with a vision for peace and stability have vowed to remain active for what is right and just and call for a culture of peace to be at the forefront of the agenda of the SADC Summit.
“We call on the Heads of State to be held accountable for the role in which the youth must play as agents of change in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security as specified in the African Youth Charter,” says Namibia’s IPYG Namibia representative Macarios Shimwandi.
“The youth urge that if the presidents say no to meeting the young leaders it is the same as saying no to achieving peace and cessation of war in this generation,” he added.
IPYG is an international non-governmental organisation with 111 branches around the globe, of which 40 are in African countries.
Through its advocacy division, it is working at the grassroots level with civil society organisations and local governments to deal with socio-economic issues relating to violence, conflict and the use of youth as tools for war.
The NGO says its vision is to create a culture of peace amongst the youth of the world and to inspire them to act as the voice of conscience and reason with leaders including lawmakers “to steer society away from conflict”.
The organisation is working in collaboration with national governments, research institutions and inter-governmental organisations to crusade for the adoption of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) by heads of states around the globe.
The DPCW is a new international legal instrument drafted by the International Law Peace Committee (ILPC) of IPYG affiliate HWPL and promotes the aspirations of the agenda supporting its vision for a peaceful and gun-free Africa.
IPYG’s Chairman, Korean war veteran Man Hee Lee, is expected to engage in meetings on the side-lines of the SADC Summit to promote the message of global peace.
As a global peace advocate, Lee has travelled the world engaging global leaders on peace and security matters. As he meets African leaders on his world tour to Africa, the Southern African heads of state will have a chance to share about the pressing issues pertaining to unrest in the region.
“The achievement of cessation of war and world peace is not the work of one individual but is a common goal for all humankind,” notes another IPYG Namibian representative, Celine Mpareke.
“There cannot be a president without a nation and its people. Please respond to the cry of the youth and give your support to this noble cause of peace,” she adds.