Youth and Civil Engagement
The General Assembly on 17 December 1999 in its resolution 54/120, endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day. The General Assembly recommended that public information activities be organized to support the Day as a way to promote better awareness of the World Programme of Action for Youth in the Year 2000 and beyond. It is meant as an opportunity for governments and others to draw attention to youth issues worldwide. During IYD, concerts, workshops, cultural events, media programmes, and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations take place around the world.
Zambia has participated in the International Youth Day activities for the past 12 years. Events have been led by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Youth Association (YUNA), Ministry of Youth, Sports and Child Development (MYSCD), Junior Chambers International (JCI). The engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve sustainable human development. Yet often the opportunities for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are low or non-existent.
Prior to August 12 a number of activities took place during youth week as follows: the United Nations Youth Association (YUNA) organized three activities namely two live TV programmes on August 6th on the Morning Live TV show at Muvi TV other participants included the International Youth Development and an Image Building Consultant, the line of discussion was based on this year’s International Youth Day theme: Youth Civic Engagement. The other discussion took place on August 12 at the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) studios with representatives from the MYSCD, YUNA, a Faith Based Organisation and International Youth Development.
The other activity was a youth dialogue at the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) held on August 12, were the youth discussed practical ways they could engage themselves in civil activities. They bemoaned the lack of support, access to information and the fact that they were considered “minors” who could not contribute meaningfully to the civic process in the country. Mr. Charles Nonde, the Team Assistant encouraged the youths to be positive when addressing civic issues and never be discouraged despite the challenges they faced. In addition, he further advised the youths to extend this information to other youths who are not aware of the positive engagement of the youth in civic matters to enable them to participate in these activities for a better Zambia. During the discussion at the Centre the matters that came out so strong were the need for employment and entrepreneurial opportunities , equality, change of mind sets, and lack of awareness and youth opportunities, as well as been engaged in the civic issues, hence youths are living in the isolated society
On the 12th August, the Zambian Government launched two National Documents, the National Youth Policy and National Action Plan on Youth Empowerment and Employment, launched by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Edgar Lungu, the UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan was among the key note speakers, and in her remarks she said Youths must be economically active and productive members of the society if Zambia is to reach the vision 2030 goals of prosperity, equality and inclusion.