International Youth Day is observed in Eritrea

Aug 12, 2016

A student contributing to the discussion during IYD2016 ©UNDPEritrea/Mwaniki

Youth from all the six regions of Eritrea convened in Asmara on the 12th of August, 2016 to commemorate the International Youth Day (IYD). The all-day event, which was observed for the first time in Eritrea, was organized by the National Union of Eritrean Youths (NUEYs) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme. The event was held under the theme “The road to 2030: Eradicating poverty in Eritrea” and focused on the role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable consumption and production.

While delivering welcoming remarks, NUEYS’ Chairperson Mr. Saleh Ahmedin said that it was exciting for Eritrea to be commemorating IYD for the first time. “We are here today not just for the sake of celebrating this day but also to learn from it.” He said. He also stressed on the important role played by Eritrean youth in nation building. “In Eritrea nothing has ever been achieved without the participation of the youth; the youth are committed and ready to support agenda 2030.”

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Christine N. Umutoni, delivered the statement by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon. The statement underscored the importance of empowering the youth and allowing access to resources, support and the space they need to create lasting change in the world. In her speech, Ms. Umutoni commended the Government of the State of Eritrea for recognizing the value of promoting and strengthening youth participation in various national projects.  “Youth have carried the Eritrean flag high in prestigious championships such as Tour de France and Olympics, consequently inspiring other African nations.” She added.

Head of Political Affairs (PFDJ) and Presidential Advisor Mr. Yemane Gebreab recognized the contribution of youth in Eritrea’s independence and continued support in ensuring the country’s security, growth and development.  “This is a country that became independent as a result of the sacrifice made by the youth and whose sovereignty has been defended by their sacrifice; it is a country that has been built by the effort and sweat of the youth who served this country for many years and whose essence is the dreams and aspirations of the young people.”

An insightful development seminar on Youth in Eritrea and Development was facilitated by Ambassador Tesfamichael Gherahtu. Ambassador Gheratu alluded that Eritrea youth leadership was embedded on the intrinsic values of the national liberation for independence.   Professor Abraham Kidane presented on youth and SDGs. He gave an overview of the SDGs and elaborated on their linkage to their predecessor, the MDGs.
In the afternoon public lecture papers were presented.  Prof. Tadese Mehari’s, lecture focused on the role of education, while the lecture by Bereket Tsehaye focused on agriculture’s linkage to the economy. He focused on specific SDGs related to the topic. Ms. Rigat Tesfamichael from the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) facilitated a lecture on gender perspectives on the national policies.

To recap all the presentations of the day, Mr. Weldyesus Elisa gave a brief on the topic “Can Eritrea eradicate poverty by 2030?  focusing on job creation.   Mr. Knut Felberg, UNDP technical advisor gave a broad over view of the UNDP project which focuses on Youth employment and skill development, focusing on its achievements and lessons learned. He highlighted the need to increase attention to ensure young people’s transition from school to jobs is made easy.  Youth participants asked questions and made contributions to the discussion topics.

A colourful youth concert culminated the day. Youth from as far Assab town and Debub region, draped in their traditional regalia graced the occasion with captivating music and dance.

Participants at IYD2016 in AsmaraParticipants at IYD2016 in Asmara ©UNDPEritrea/Mwaniki

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