By Prudence Arobani
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has called for strengthening the relationship between the African Union (AU) and the UN to deliver on promised development for Africa’s youth.
Mohammed stated this while addressing leaders from across the continent who had gathered at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, which was her first AU Summit since taking office, according to a copy of her speech released from New York.
She said that the AU’s thematic focus for 2017 on youth is a “powerful reminder” of the core principle at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the AU’s strategic framework known as Agenda 2063 and other global agreements, namely, creating a better world for the next generation.
“For the 226 million young people aged 15 to 24 living in Africa today, these agendas address challenges and opportunities that are integral to their futures.
“Today you are here taking decisions that will ensure that Africa benefits from the full potential of all its people, including young women and men,” she said, in a nod to this year’s theme of Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth.
According to her, investing in our youth today reaps the dividend of a peaceful and prosperous Africa tomorrow.
Mohammed called for “building new bridges between us, and fortifying the ones that already exist” to deliver on the promises of the development agenda for Africa and its people.
In April, the UN-AU annual conference in New York resulted in a joint framework for enhanced partnership on peace and security.
The two organizations are now preparing a joint framework on sustainable development, focusing on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and of Agenda 2063, according to Mohammed.
She also noted that the UN would be collaborating with the AU on a new UN-European Union initiative to be launched at the UN General Assembly this September to end gender-based violence around the world.
The deputy UN chief also highlighted some of the other areas where the UN and the AU were working more closely, including on efforts to enhance the UN’s partnership with Africa’s regional economic communities in areas of peacekeeping, elections and democratic transitions.
Secretary-General António Guterres recently reiterated the need for “predictable, reliable and sustainable” financing for AU peace operations, and is said to be working on a set of concrete proposals for the UN Security Council.
“Our efforts should continue to be based on urgency, flexibility and innovation to improve complementarity, cost-effectiveness and impact,” Mohammed said.
The deputy UN scribe also echoed Guterres’ call at the G7 summit in Italy, where he urged world leaders to invest in young people, with stronger investment in technology, relevant education and capacity-building in Africa.
“The challenge of strengthening Africa’s human capital, starting with its young people, has galvanized commitments to promote their rights and invest in quality and relevant education at all levels, health, science and technology and innovation,” Mohammed said.