EAC Joint Sectoral Council on Defence, Inter-State Security and Foreign Policy Coordination adopts framework involving youth in peace and security
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 23rd August, 2021: The East African Community Joint Sectoral Council on Inter-State Security and Foreign Policy Coordination has adopted a framework for establishing a Regional Youth Peace and Security Platform.
The Joint Sectoral Council further directed the EAC Secretariat and Partner States to operationalize the platform and develop a Peace and Security communication strategy to facilitate awareness creation on the existing Peace and Security structures and promote coordinated and meaningful participation of youths at all levels in implementing the platform.
The Sectoral Council, which was chaired by Kenya’s Chief Administrative Secretary for National Security, Hon. Peter Odoyo on Friday, 20th August, 2021, observed that the draft framework for establishing the Regional Youth Peace and Security Platform had been reviewed and finalised by Partner State Experts.
The Ministers further noted that there was need to develop a mechanism for mapping areas with potential insecurity that require youth intervention.
The meeting noted that the Partner States’ Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs should take an active role in coordination and implementation of the Regional Platform on Youth, Peace and Security.
The Sectoral Council also adopted the Draft EAC Strategy and Implementation Plan for Youth Peace and Security (2021-2026).
The Ministers directed the Secretariat to undertake a baseline survey to establish the current state of the youth engagement and participation in the Peace and Security Matters in the Region, the gaps and challenges thereof.
In adopting the Draft Strategy, the Ministers observed that document had already received inputs from Partner States that have enriched the draft Youth Peace and Security Strategy document at both national and regional level;
The Ministers observed that there was a need to popularise the EAC Youth Peace and Security Instruments and initiatives with key stakeholders in the region, adding that was also need to have a consistent definition of the youth with international, continental and regional instruments.
The meeting further noted that there was need to establish a baseline on youth participation in EAC Peace and Security Activities.
The Sectoral Council also approved the Draft Enabling institutional structure to support the Council of Ministers on Peace and Security matters and refer the same for consideration by the Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs for legal input in line with Decision 33 of the 33rd Meeting of the Council of Ministers.
Directed the Secretariat to constitute a Multi Sectoral Experts Working Group to develop SOPs (including roles and responsibilities) for the Team that will be providing technical support to the Council of Ministers on Peace and Security Matters, and submit to the 11th Joint Meeting of Sectoral Councils on Cooperation in Defence, Interstate Security and Foreign Policy Coordination for consideration.
They recommended to the EAC Council of Ministers to prioritize the recruitment of staff under the Directorate of Peace and Security.
While approving the Draft Enabling Institution Framework, the Ministers observed that the Protocol on Peace and Security, which operationalises the Directorate of Peace and Security, had been ratified by all Partner States hence the need to recruit staff under the Directorate of Peace and Security to enhance coordination of the sectors.
The Ministers further observed that there was need to develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Team that will be providing technical support to the Council of Ministers on Peace and Security Matters.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Hon. Odoyo, the chairperson of the Sectoral Council and Kenya’s Chief Administrative Secretary for National Security, noted that the Session provided an opportunity for Partner States to deliberate on peace and security matters that are crucial to the enhancement of the EAC integration process.
Hon. Odoyo underlined the fact that in the COVID-19 pandemic scenario, “it is our actions that will make the difference,” and urged the delegates and, by extension the people of East Africa, to always observe COVID-19 containment protocols.
Making the welcoming remarks, EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, briefed the Ministers on his focus towards job and wealth creation as a panacea to the youth bulge in the region, which has a bearing on engaging idle youth in gainful employment and creation of a disincentive towards choice of criminal activities.
“As we move to the next level, it is my goal over the next five years to build on these gains and consolidate security by focusing on private sector development, which is critical to wealth and job creation hence, provision of a promising future for our young people. Achievement in this realm will reduce the incentive for young people to engage in activities that prejudice security,” said Dr. Mathuki.
“The engagement of youth in the Peace and Security Sector as recommended in your deliberations will strengthen our common resolve to ensure that the young people are productively engaged,” he added.
He further briefed the meeting on the ongoing process of implementing Summit decision with respect to the entry of the DRC into the EAC and the opportunities it offers. He urged the sectors to identify appropriate entry points.
“As you may all be aware, expansion of the Community remains a continuous endeavour with the expected entry of the Democratic Republic of Congo into the Community on the cards. This will provide challenges but also an opportunity for collective action towards creating a conducive security environment in a border region that covers five of the six EAC Partner State,” said the Secretary General.
“The sectors participating in this session must thus endeavour to identify the areas of convergence and opportunities for engagement as we walk into this integration widening initiative,” he added.
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The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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