IIFMENA launches 'Sharjah Declaration for Youth Empowerment'

SHARJAH, 24th October, 2018 (WAM) -- The third 'Investing in the Future' (IIFMENA) conference has launched the IIFMENA 2018 "Sharjah Declaration for Youth Empowerment", based on the outcomes of discussions that brought together more than 60 senior youth advocates and international experts to shed light on its theme, ‘Youth – Crisis Challenges and Development Opportunities’.

Acquisition of life skills at the centre of youth policy decision-making, fostering an enabling environment for young women, enabling flexible learning opportunities beyond schooling, recognizing youth entrepreneurship as a driving force for development, are among the nine-point declaration that the IIFMENA 2018 conference has revealed.

The Sharjah Declaration for Youth Empowerment has called on member states to: - Put the acquisition of life skills at the center of Youth Policy Decision-making to prepare children and youth to LEAP into the Future: ready to Learn, engage in Employment, be Active Citizen and in control of their own Personal growth and empowerment.

- Promote policies that foster an enabling environment and recognise the important role of young women as agents of economic stabilisation and growth.

- Mainstream gender in all plans, policies and programmes which are aimed at empowering, protecting and supporting youth - Utilise existing endeavors towards education reforms, and the changing demographics as a window of opportunity to translate investment in human capital into further development and economic growth.

- Coordinate efforts of governments, UN agencies, NGOs, academics and the private sector to transform education and promote open systems that enable flexible learning opportunities beyond schooling - Note that youth entrepreneurship is a driving force of socio-economic development. It is an enabler, driver and empowering tool for sustainable development with far-reaching benefits.

- Act to create conditions which are conducive to youth entrepreneurs. The world’s large and growing youth population can be a powerful and transformative force for a better world – if the right investments and decisions are made now.

- Ensure that all refugee youth are protected against violence, abuse, and exploitation, and to have access to national systems and services delivered in a protective way, including health and psychosocial support.

- Have the best interests of refugee youth taken as a primary consideration in all matters affecting their well-being and their future.

Day one of IIFMENA 2018 came to an end with closing remarks by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, The Big Heart Foundation Humanitarian Envoy, who said: "Today’s and tomorrow’s discussions will play a crucial role in contributing to shaping a new future for the youth in MENA. It will do so by bringing together the dedicated efforts of organisations and entities striving to alleviate the sufferings of refugees, displaces peoples and the marginalised.

''Together, we will build a better future for us by highlighting the inspiring stories of people who face unparalleled sufferings every day, but turn their challenges into opportunities, especially the youth.'' For her part, Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Science, said: "Investing in the youth is an investment in our future.'' ''In the UAE, young people are guided by a wise leadership with a clear vision, as well as a state policy based on providing everything that will promote the development and growth of our future generations, and provide the necessary support and confidence to enable them in all fields to contribute to the nation’s present and future."

WAM/Tariq alfaham/Hassan Bashir