October 24, 2020

ECOWAS Adopts A Youth Policy, Strategic Action Plan

Experts and Stakeholders from ECOWAS Member States hold Virtual Technical Meeting to Validate New Strategic Plan of Action for Youth Development in the Region

Pursuant to Article 61 paragraph 1 of the Revised Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), wherein: “Member States undertake to co-operate with a view to mobilising the various sections of the population and ensuring their effective integration and involvement in the social development of the region”, ECOWAS adopted a youth policy and strategic action plan. The main aim is to empower the youth and encourage their involvement in all aspects of the society.

Since the 2009 adoption of this policy and strategic plan of action, ECOWAS Commission has executed proactive people-oriented development programmes to improve the lot of the youth and the Community.

Following the actual expiration of the plan in 2015, most of the scheduled activities and youth development interventions have remained pertinent. As such, there has been a concerted effort to review the plan and enhance its relevance for current and emerging trends in youth development. The dynamism of the sector requires a periodic review, as new social and environmental challenges continue to change the relevance of sector programmes and policies.

Consequently, ECOWAS Commission, through its Youth and Sports Development Centre (EYSDC) based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, organised a virtual meeting from the 28th to 30th of September, to review and update the new strategic plan of action to respond more effectively to recent trends in youth development.

Participants at the meeting will also be required to ensure that the recent and emerging trends in youth development and empowerment are factored into the new plan of action.

In her opening statement, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr Siga Fatima Jagne reminded participants of the rapidly evolving landscape of challenges, (unemployment, illegal immigration, drug, COVID-19 pandemic, social conflicts ) facing the youth, and the need for a tailored and scalable response.

Dr Jagne emphasized that the strategic plan was mainly aimed at supporting the implementation of the ECOWAS youth policy, with youth as an important marginal group of the Community’s population. The purpose of the policy is to mobilise the youth, ensuring their effective involvement in regional development and integration. The strategic plan of action also aims to empower the youth and encourage their involvement in all aspects of the society.

“The plan of action equally upholds initiatives at global, continental and national levels such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Youth Charter, the youth policy initiatives of ECOWAS Member States and other stakeholders,” concluded Commissioner Jagne.

In turn, the Head of the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, Mr Francis Chuks Njoaguani, in his welcome remarks to the participants, briefly recalled the context of the new strategic plan and called for stakeholder commitment towards the success of the meeting.

At the end of their meeting, experts and stakeholders from Member States will adopt a document that will provide a regional strategic framework for youth development and empowerment. They will equally decide on the duration of the new strategic plan. The document is to be submitted for validation at ministerial level and subsequent adoption by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.

Participants at the meeting include youth development programme experts from Member States and the ECOWAS Commission, international institutional partners (UNESCO, UNIDO, Spanish Agency, and ILO), the National Youth Council of Nigeria and experts from the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre.

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