The Youth Without Borders Ghana on Monday called on government to renew its commitments and social contract towards young people by providing sustainable and pragmatic interventions that have the propensity to permanently develop young people.
The group said the sharp rise in the numbers of youth in the country has resulted in the increased trends of related problems such as unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, illegal mining, violence and crime among others.
“Against these backdrops, policies and programmes for youth development have not addressed efficiently the needs of the majority of young people.
“There seems to be a gap in properly analyzing, identifying and implementing interventions that effectively address and reflect the unique priorities and needs of the Ghanaian youth,” YWBG said in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
The statement signed by Mr Daniel Ackah, Director of Communications, which focuses on this year’s International Youth Day Celebration which is anchored on the theme; “Safe Spaces for Youth,” seeks to involve the teaming youth in decision-making processes.
It said young people must be seen as key partners of development and need to be engaged meaningfully, and pursue their shared vision for a peaceful, prosperous nation and world.
“This can only be made possible if young people are given the needed recognition, capacity, opportunity and respect,” the statement said.
It said the youth need safe spaces where they could come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves.
It said young people if empowered could become key agents for development and peace. “If, however, they are left on society’s margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies”.
It said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 11, emphasizes the need for the provision of space towards inclusive and sustainable urbanization.
Furthermore, the New Urban Agenda (NUA) reiterates the need for public spaces for youth to enable them to interact with family and have constructive inter-generational dialogue.
According to the statement Article ten of the Africa Youth Charter declares that states must ensure every young person has the right to social, economic, political and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind and also enjoin states to encourage youth organizations to lead youth programs and to ensure the exercise of the right to development.
It said as more and more youth grow in a technologically connected world, they aspire to engage deeper in political, civic and social matters and the availability and accessibility of safe spaces becomes even more crucial to make this a reality.
“We urge all stakeholders to implement affirmative action including the establishment of youth parliaments at all levels, quota for youth in government and parliament and reduction of the age that qualifies one to contest for president to ensure meaningful youth inclusion and participation in decision-making processes,” the statement said.