A couple of days spent in Amman, Jordon at the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security were intriguing, engaging and inspiring. Over five hundred youths expressed their commitments to live in a peaceful global society and endorsed a universal declaration known as the Amman Youth Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security.
Across our world, we see insecurity, inequality and growing divides among nations, groups, societies, tribes and even families. Here in Liberia, the challenges are all too glaring; there is a rise in corruption, cronyism and the lack of equal opportunity for young people.
While young people are not directly responsible for creating these problems, they are both directly and indirectly affected by the aftermath and consequences of these problems of poverty, inequality, unemployment and even poor quality of education.
During our dialogue among peace messengers, we concluded that the biggest cost of corruption and cronyism by way of bribery, embezzlement, nepotism and favoritism is any government ‘s biggest loss because with it goes the loss of trust and confidence of the electorate; disenchantment of young people, potential investors and anger and frustration of the general populace.
In addressing the issues of poverty, corruption and cronyism, governments should leave no one in doubt of its zero tolerance policy against corruption. We cannot afford to have double standards. The fight against elements of progress and national development will be won or lost based on how government handles its engagement with young people and their roles in a comprehensive master plan for peace and security.
Young people have no stake in issues that tend to ignore them. Consequently, government must recognize the role of young people in peace and nation building initiatives. It is never enough to have young people as tokens of representation.
The issue of corruption and corrupt practices need not be catastrophe. The question now, is how we, as young people, act. In our quest for results, we are reminded by the words of the UN Secretary General-Ban ki Moon, when he said “… let us stand with millions of people across the world who are suffering the devastating impact of violence and conflict. Let us share ideas and plans for helping and supporting them in their time of dire need.”
The work of Messengers of Peace (MOP) – Liberia would not be possible without the active and meaningful involvement of young people and without an engaging partnership with peace loving individuals, groups and organizations. It is the coordinated network of people that helps to alleviate poverty, eradicate corruption and cronyism as well as reduce violence among young people.
Next month 21 September 2015, the International Day of Peace (IPD) would be observed around the world and MOP- Liberia would use this platform to officially launch the Amman Youth Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security. The four cardinal points of the youth declaration focusing on youth participation and leadership in issues of peace and security, Youth preventing violence and building peace; Gender equality and young people’s socio-economic empowerment would be our priority in the months ahead.
Until next week, when we come to you dialogues among peace messengers: “Partnership for Peace-Dignity for All-Part 1”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.