National youth conference calls for more youth participation in charting country’s future
07 December 2020
Iraqi youth should take an enhanced role in charting their country’s future political course and economic and social development
Baghdad – Iraqi youth should take an enhanced role in charting their country’s future political course and economic and social development, according to recommendations made at a national conference that was held in Baghdad on 22 November 2020.
The event was the culmination of 18 workshops, one in each governorate, that brought together hundreds of young people over the last eighteen months to discuss their contribution to shaping Iraq’s future.
Organised by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), in cooperation with the Committee for Coexistence and Societal Peace in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, a total of 334 men and 246 women from diverse backgrounds participated in “Iraqi Youth: Pioneers for Dialogue and Stability” workshops. Participants, including students, young professionals, social activists and the unemployed, all aged between 18 and 30, issued a consistent message in all workshops: the youth want their voices heard and to have more say in running their country.
The national conference in Baghdad comprised 17 women and 16 men who presented conclusions and recommendations from the governorate workshops to senior officials and government representatives. The recommendations included enhancing the role of youth in decision-making processes; fostering young people’s political participation and economic empowerment; strengthening the rule of law and law enforcement; improving local employment and investment opportunities; asserting state control over weapons; protecting women from domestic violence; protecting the environment; and overcoming tribal conflicts.
The government officials present included Head of the National Investment Commission Suha al-Najjar; chair of the Council of Representatives’ Committee on Youth and Sports Abbas Ulaiwi; Women, Family and Childhood Committee Chair Maysoun al Sa’idi; head of the Coexistence and Societal Peace Committee and advisor to the Prime Minister, Hosham Dawood; and a representative of the Youth and Sport Ministry, Akram Atwan. In their opening remarks and ensuing discussion with the youth, all officials agreed that engaging the young generation is crucial to achieve the social, political and economic reforms necessary for the future prosperity and stability of the country. They affirmed that the recommendations will be addressed by relevant government bodies, including those which require enactment of legislation by the Council of Representatives.
Addressing the conference, Deputy Special Representative of UNAMI Alice Walpole said: “Your presence here today and your inspirational contributions throughout our youth workshops, give me confidence that the youth of Iraq is ready for the challenge of finding collaborative, creative ways to address the challenges facing your country.”
“Whether you chose to run as a candidate, to assist in a political campaign, to observe the electoral process, and of course simply by exercising your right to vote, I encourage you to seize the opportunity to make your voice heard,” she added.