The Deputy Chief for Peace and Consolidation Services of UNMIL has underscored the need for Liberia’s youth to ensure peace and security becomes the hallmark for prosperity.
Christopher John Lewis said youth must take the vision of what they want the country to be, and that violence is never an option for resolving issues. Christopher John Lewis said that ensuring peace and security is vital for economic growth and prosperity in post war Liberia. He made the disclosure at the official launch of the Youth and Elections Project and programs marking the celebration of 2017 International Youth Day. He noted that Liberia’s young population of 60 percent demonstrates the need for more attention to be given to the young generation, including career development, requisite skills and knowledge and opportunities. Despite the restoration of 11 years peace, the country is believe to be a fragile state and need to uphold the peace cannot be overemphasized as Liberians go to elections within 52 days time. Mr. Lewis explained that the role of the youth is instrumental in the forthcoming general and presidential elections. He noted the SDGs cannot be achieved without a progressive policy which will lead to change for young people. He stated that young people can foster good governance by sustaining the peace and the success of Liberia’s elections will demonstrate how far the country has reach in post war reconstruction and development. He called on young people to organized themselves by taking charge of existing opportunities including been volunteers, working within their communities and to be active in politics. Young people, he indicated can help to overcome difficulties through innovative ideas which will bring about change. Young people, Lewis added must be progressive in the way politics is articulated in the country. He pointed out opposing views within communities should been as the uniqueness of politics and not violence. Issues within communities, he added must be resolve peacefully instead of violence. Mr. Lewis expressed the need for good and strong guidance to be given to the young people by the politicians, elders and leaders; something he said will help young people take responsibilities. He emphasized the need for investment in education and health care for people. He furthered that people must have access to good service delivery systems and the county service center must be improve to ensure people have access, because they are part of good governance. Also, he noted that assessment conducted reveals that Liberians are tired with war and the government must be decentralized through the local governance act for the consolidation of peace. For his part, UNDP Country Director Pa Lamin Beyai said most youth do not have the enabling environment to fully harness their potential. According to him, the UNDP was concerned about the development deficit, which has made Africa unattractive to its youth, thereby forcing some of them to undertake dangerous trips in search of the elusive ‘so-called’ greener pastures. Ms. Nicole Weeks of NAYMOTE said that young people have lost trust in their leaders, adding that youth participation in governance is the model of sustainable peace. She challenged young people to rethink, adding that they should be careful who to elect because the time for young people to achieve their full potential is now.