World leaders have gathered in New York for the start of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Emphasising ‘peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet’, the 193 member states will be meeting until 25 September. This Saturday, over 500 high school learners from across South Africa will be participating in the annual SAIIA Johannesburg Model United Nations Conference, to discuss many of the same issues facing the General Assembly.
Each year, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) holds a special Southern Africa Civil Society Forum. The 13th annual Forum took place last week, in Johannesburg. Members of the SAIIA Youth Policy Committee and alumni of the SAIIA Young Leaders Conference were there, to provide an eye-witness account of the proceedings.
International Youth Day, celebrated on 12 August 2017, is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention, inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace. Naafia Amod from SAIIA’s Youth Programme argues that African youth are uniquely placed to provide inclusive and informed leadership through the challenges facing our shared world.
International Youth Day, celebrated on 12 August 2017, is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention, inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace. Gugulethu Resha from SAIIA’s Youth Policy Committee reflects here on some of the contributions already being made by South African youth.
In a time of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which South Africa has committed to, all sectors and stakeholders are required to participate, incorporate and implement the SDGs into their operations. The mining sector is an important sector that can either facilitate or hinder progress. While the mining sector can promise economic development, job opportunities, business development, increased revenues and infrastructure linkages, it also has the potential to impact negatively on the SDGs through environmental degradation, displacement of populations, worsening economic and social inequality, gender-based violence, corruption, health and human rights degradation.
Southern Africa’s brightest young minds presented their recommendations on harnessing the potential of young people and the emerging youth demographic in Africa.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) aims to create societies who hold the governments responsible for ensuring effective and responsive governance structures. Civil society engagement on topics surrounding open governance are direly needed, specifically engagement from a youth lens. Being from a founding member country, South African youth are in a special position to hold their government accountable and voice their opinions surrounding the OGP.
Youth@SAIIA has partnered with UNICEF South Africa to raise awareness on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues. In October 2016, we did a series of WASH related model UNICEF conferences, and have invited some of the participants to write for our youth blog as they continue their work on wash in 2017.
Walburga Khumalo is a member of the Youth Policy Committee, and is SAIIA’S Youth Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. She is currently attending the 55th Commission on Social Development, which is focusing on 'Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all'.
An extraordinary group of high-school learners from across the country presented their research findings and recommendations on topics such as water scarcity, food security and natural disaster preparedness. These presentations drew connections between local problems, South African policies and international plans such as the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
SAIIA Youth Policy Committee members Phiwayinkosi Mungwe, Janet Kachinga and Ditebogo Lebea have traveled to Morocco for this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP22. From Morocco and from Johannesburg, young people who have been following these issues for many years will be writing about the direction the negotiations are taking.
As world leaders gathered in New York for the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, over 500 high-school learners from across South Africa participated in the annual SAIIA Johannesburg Model United Nations Conference, to discuss many of the same questions facing the General Assembly.
This week, seventy-five outstanding young delegates arrived at SAIIA to participate in the fourth Young Leaders Conference, from 26 June to 1 July. These high school learners and university students hosted their own negotiation sessions under the theme ‘Connecting the past to the present: Young South Africans shaping a sustainable future’.
Seventy-five outstanding young delegates have arrived at the SAIIA offices in Johannesburg, to participate in the fourth SAIIA Young Leaders Conference, from 26 June to 1 July. As part of the conference, the delegates (58 high school learners and 17 university students) will host their own youth negotiation sessions under the theme ‘Connecting the past to the present: Young South Africans shaping a sustainable future’. The negotiations will culminate in the handover of the pdf 2016 Young Leaders Declaration (359 KB) to the Presidency on 30 June. A youth dialogue will also be held on 30 June with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
In South Africa, June has long been celebrated as Youth month. The 16th of June this year marked the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprising, and the 15th of June the 24th anniversary of the Day of the African Child.
To commemorate this month, our Youth@SAIIA members have been engaging in stimulating discussions on the legacy of June 16 for today’s generation and analysing how young people can be included as valuable contributors in the continent's economic and political developments. Siwapiwe Madubela, a member of the Youth Policy Committee, unpacked these issues on CNBC Africa.
SAIIA Policy Briefing 149, May 2016
Dear Editors and Journalists,
In South Africa, June is celebrated as Youth Month, a special time to recognise the vibrant creative energy that our young people have to offer. Two dates in particular provide the focus this year: June 16 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprising, and June 15 is the 24th anniversary of the Day of the African Child.
SAIIA’s youth programme is proud continue the 1976 tradition of young people uniting and acting for positive transformation. We have an array of passionate young leaders available, all of whom have experience engaging with the media. Our students have researched a range of critical issues and been called upon to present their insights at high-level international forums, as well as to local and national government.
SAIIA Youth Policy Committee members Luanda Mpungose and Annabel Fenton are in Istanbul for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit. They are providing daily updates on the main developments at the Summit, from their perspective as young South Africans.
Youth Policy Committee members Pule Nkopane and Franci van Rhyn are currently at the 2016 United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) Youth Forum at the UN headquarters in New York. This year’s forum focuses on ‘Youth Taking Action to Implement the 2030 Agenda’, and Franci and Pule will be sharing daily updates here as young South Africans.
Over the two weeks of this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP21, SAIIA youth participants will be following the debates and decisions of world representatives. From Paris and from Johannesburg, we will sending daily updates and explaining how young people who have been following these issues for many years feel about the direction the negotiations are taking.